Today we will be looking at one of the most dangerous defensive groups, not just on the UCLA Bruins football team, but in the entire Pac-12. The UCLA Linebackers have been a big thing lately and they are consistently reloading. This group will be led into battle by last season’s leading tackler Eric Kendricks and breakout star, Myles Jack, who captured both Offensive and Defensive Pac-12 Freshman of the Year honors. Despite losing key players in Anthony Barr and Jordan Zumwalt, the Bruins have a great group of talented young men waiting on the sidelines for a chance to show what they can do.
Here is the GJB projected depth chart for the UCLA Linebackers:
|Left Outside LB||Inside LB||Inside LB||Right Outside LB|
|Myles Jack||Ryan Hofmeister||Eric Kendricks||Kenny Orjioke|
|Aaron Wallace||Isaako Savaiinaea||Zach Whitley*||Deon Hollins|
|Dwight Williams*||Kenny Young*||Cameron Judge||Jayon Brown|
|Willie Green||Taylor Lagace||Cameron Griffin*||Daniel Fields|
*incoming freshmen, possible redshirt
These Linebackers Are Jack’d Up
It is no secret that UCLA had the best all-around freshman football player last season. Myles Jack. You have heard the name, now know the player. Last year, Jack had 74 total tackles, 7 tackles for a loss, 2 interceptions, 2 recovered fumbles and a blocked kick… and that is just on defense. Jack will once agin be all over the field while Eric Kendricks helps to anchor down the middle. Kendricks led in both solo (62) and total (106) tackles.
Behind them will most likely be a shuffling of players, all of which are young and talented. Ryan Hofmeister and Kenny Orijioke, seem to be the most fit to fill in the starting line-up, but as stated before, there should be a lot of mixing and matching. Deon Hollins, Isaako Savaiinaea, Cameron Judge, Jayon Brown, Taylor Lagace and Aaron Wallace (who was just reinstated back in school and on the team) round out some much needed experience as back-ups. All had played 11 or more games last season, most on special teams or as a linebacker reserve. Look for Hollins, Savaiinaea and Wallace to be in the mix for a starting spot. Willie Green and Daniel Fields have not seen time on the field.
The New Guys
Just because Barr and Zumwalt have gone up to the professional ranks, does not mean UCLA has to rebuild… it just means they re-load. Sure that is a cliche, but head coach Jim Mora and company are recruiting and developing their talent so well that they do not have to worry about a substantial drop-off, if any. It is also quite possible that they develop them so well that one of these young men could have a Myles Jack-like season.
Four-star middle linebacker Zach Whitley was a big get for the Bruins in their last recruiting class and even better, he already joined the Bruins for Spring Practice. They also have two athletic bodies in Dwight Williams and Cameron Griffin, but could possibly redshirt. The one everyone is waiting for was the #7 ranked linebacker in the nation, Kenny Young. He held offers from Alabama, Texas A&M and Oklahoma State but decided to take his talents out west from Louisiana. In regards to all of them, their talents may be raw, but Mora and defensive Coordinator Jeff Ublrich will have a lot to do with their impending success.
Go Bruins! Go “Linebacker U”!
|Jayon Brown||19||6'0"||220 lbs.||So.|
|Daniel Fields||27||6'1"||210 lbs.||R-So.|
|Cameron Griffin||---||6'3"||210 lbs.||Fr.|
|Willie Green||43||6'2"||220 lbs.||R-So.|
|Ryan Hofmeister||53||6'0"||220 lbs.||R-Sr.|
|Deon Hollins||58||6'0"||225 lbs.||So.|
|Myles Jack||30||6'1"||230 lbs.||So.|
|Cameron Judge||45||6'1"||215 lbs.||So.|
|Eric Kendricks||6||6'0"||230 lbs.||R-Sr.|
|Taylor Lagace||28||6'1"||210 lbs.||R-So.|
|Kenny Orjioke||46||6'4"||235 lbs.||Jr.|
|Isaako Savaiinaea||44||6'2"||232 lbs.||So.|
|Aaron Wallace||51||6'2"||240 lbs.||Jr.|
|Zach Whitley||41||6'1"||218 lbs.||Fr.|
|Dwight Williams||---||6'1"||212 lbs.||Fr.|
|Kenny Young||---||6'2"||225 lbs.||Fr.|