UCLA Football is on watch… award watch that is! Two more Bruins were named to a couple of pre-season award watch lists as Jake Brendel was listed for the Rimington Award (Best Center) and Thomas Duarte showed up on the Mackey Award (Best Tight End) list. This is five Bruins in all that have been named to award watch lists as Maxwell Award lister Brett Hundley and Bednarik Award watch selections Myles Jack and Eric Kendricks made headlines yesterday. Congratulations to these players and especially coach Jim Mora and staff for developing such talent.
This says a lot about UCLA’s offense and how it has improved over the last two years, especially when you have someone like redshirt junior Jake Brendel holding down the line. Brendel really emerged as a talented offensive lineman last season as he was the one constant. The line was young, they had many injuries and with the shuffling of players to different spots, Brendel stayed healthy all season and helped keep some much needed solidity. With the experience of starting in every game that he has played, it is no wonder he is a national candidate for being one of the best players at his position.
Thomas Duarte is a bit of a surprise as a name on the Mackey Award watch list… but when you think about it, not really. As a true freshman, Duarte thrived in the UCLA offense, especially mid-season when things seems to have clicked for this 6’3″, 225 lbs. specimen. His large body was able to get over and around several smaller defenders, especially in red zone situations. He was fifth on the Bruins in receiving with 216 yards and averaged 13.4 yards per reception, topped off with 3 touchdowns. Just imagine what he will be able to do this year with Brendel holding down the line, allowing both Duarte and quarterback Brett Hundley enough time to work their magic. It will be a well oiled machine, I tell you.
Go Brendel and Duarte! Go Bruins!
— UCLA Football (@UCLAFootball) July 8, 2014