Brett Hundley. Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley exploded into the national picture last season, earning recognition and praise from anyone who saw him play. He’s a natural leader with a head for the game of football—determined and smart, yet modest. His team-first style was a key component in the camaraderie seen last season, and we can only hope it continues for seasons to come.
The rising redshirt sophomore from Chandler, Ariz. wore #17 for the Bruins last season. Coincidentally, 17 was also the previous UCLA record for passing touchdowns in a freshman season, but Hundley obliterated that stat, racking up 29 scores through the air. He also added nine more TDs on the ground, which is a hallmark of the diversity of his game. During the season, Hundley totaled 3,740 passing yards and just under 400 rushing, setting the tone for his career with a 72-yard touchdown run on his first snap at the collegiate level. Let me make the significance of this clear though, as it held much more meaning than just six points on the board.
Hundley had never played a game of college football in his life— more so hadn’t had a full offseason as the clear cut starter. His experience was as low as can go, but he showed us that instinct can make up for that. Following the season-opening snap, Hundley broke three tackles en route to the end zone. UCLA fans were going insane as they tried to figure out if what they witnessed was real. His teammates were more ecstatic than Ferris Bueller when he caught site of that 1961 Ferrari 250GT California Spyder. The Bruins streaked down the field to give their QB props for what was only the beginning of an amazing 2012 season.
Let’s take a look at the crystal ball of college football. It resembles the crystal football awarded to the annual BCS National Champion, only that one doesn’t look into Hundley’s future.
Heisman Trophy, Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports
Brett Hundley should stay on pace to reach greatness, and many have him in the picture for Heisman contention. Johnny Manziel won the Heisman Trophy last season, totaling 5,115 yards while leading Texas A&M to Cotton Bowl, where they ran over Oklahoma to earn a 41-13 victory.
Hundley probably won’t put up such staggering numbers that included over 1,000 yards rushing, but then again, I don’t think Manziel will continue to play at such an unbelievable level. However, I do see Hundley eclipsing his 2012 season mark of 4,095 yards. Doing so will put him in another league—that which consists of players including Manziel, and was once home to Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III and the like.
It seems reasonable for Hundley to hit the 4,500 yard mark, as his running ability was held back by ankle pain (and a shaky offensive line) for most of last season. With a stacked recruiting class of O-linemen and an offseason of recovery, Hundley should have fewer hurdles to success in 2013. Also coming to his aid is Devin Lucien, a star wideout who was injured early last season. Lucien can be a major factor this season, and will take some pressure off of Hundley’s shoulders.
For more info on Lucien and the lot, click here.