UCLA Football will have four very good running backs that will have 1,000-yard seasons. Not collectively in one season but eventually they will individually reach that milestone.
Sure it is a bold statement to say, but when you have seen the evolution of a team like I have with UCLA Football, you can tell that things are a little different, which is why I am very excited about the Bruin running backs and proclaim that each one of the four main runners that we have seen in fall camp, will eventually obtain 1,000-yards rushing in a season.
Paul Perkins had 1,575 last year, so I am already 25% correct on my prediction.
Feb 4, 2015; Plano, TX, USA; SoSo Jamabo talks to the media after announcing he will be attending UCLA at a press conference at Plano West High School. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
In the last two weeks, the Bruins have started preparations for the 2015 season by having fall camp at Cal State San Bernardino. It is the first time we have gotten to see the team in its entirety as the returners mixed with the in-coming freshmen in the desert. Two of those newbies have been particularly impressive, running backs Bolu Olorunfunmi and Soso Jamabo.
Both of these players have gotten several snaps with both the first and second team offense and it seems that every time they touch the ball, special things happen. Breaking off 10-yard runs looks natural for them.
During their high school senior seasons, Olorunfunmi and Jamabo had 1,830 and 2,279 yards, respectively. Now that was high school, but the way they are progressing has me believe that both will be big time backs at UCLA.
More from UCLA Bruins Football
- UCLA Football: It’s time for the nation to meet Dante Moore
- UCLA Football: Where are they ranked heading into week 4
- UCLA Football: Position battle breakdown for Utah showdown
- UCLA vs. Utah: Location, time, prediction, and more
- UCLA Football: Highlights from Chip Kelly’s appearance on the Jim Rome Show
Soso is a (tall) player that jukes, spins and pirouettes around the defense. It is not a stretch to say he looks like he is dancing on the field, like a taller Maurice Jones-Drew.
Then you have Olorunfunmi who has been a bruising back that has opened a lot of eyes. Several times during fall camp I have seen Bolu break through the defensive line, tear off several yards all the while needing multiple definers to bring him down.
As Chris Foster of the L.A. Times wrote, “Olorunfunmi who has out-performed fellow freshmen Soso Jamabo, may have played his way into the rotation.” Foster said that Olorunfunmi has been the most impressive freshmen in fall camp, even more than QB Josh Rosen.
But here is the thing, these are the freshmen. They aren’t even the primary running backs. That would be the Pac-12’s leading rusher from last season, Paul Perkins, and bulldozer-in-the-making, Nate Starks.
The Primary Run
Last year, Perkins essentially came out of nowhere as the conference’s best rusher. After a strong 2013 campaign as one of the top backs after several Bruin RBs got injured mid-season, Perkins was looking to have a good 2014 and at the very least stay consistent. It turns out he was better than good and he was THE most consistent part of UCLA Football last season.
Though he was snubbed in the Pac-12 All-Coneference teams (he was only an honorable mention), he showed he did not need accolades to be the best. He proved that in the Alamo Bowl with an epic run that helped clinch a Bruins victory,
"Paul Perkins 67-yard TD dagger http://t.co/kAyypn8lE3— Jesse Torres (@jstorres) January 3, 2015"
Sep 25, 2014; Tempe, AZ, USA; UCLA Bruins running back Nate Starks (23) against the Arizona State Sun Devils at Sun Devil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Starks, if you are not aware, is someone we here at Go Joe Bruin are very excited about. Though he only had 32 carries last season, it was what he did when the ball was hands that makes us excited for the future.
Not only is he a power back, he is fast and often it looks like he is laying a hit on a defender that is suppose to be doing it to Starks. We are very excited by that.
In preparation for the future (could this be Perkins’ last season?), expect Starks to have somewhere north of 100 carries.
Four 1,000-Yard Rushers?
So essentially, yes, each of these running backs will have a 1,000-yard seasons in their future (Perkins will get his second in a row this season as the primary back). Bold statement? Sure, but I would not say it if I did not know it to be a very, very good possibility.
Seeing each of these four RBs in fall camp assures me that the running game will continue to thrive in the Jim Mora era and could be even better this season.
Seeing each of these four RBs in fall camp assures me that the running game will continue to thrive in the Jim Mora era and could be even better this season. That will set a great foundation for the future that is already very strong.
The interesting thing to watch for this year is how each of these backs will be used. Not only do the Bruins have more players to work with, there are several formations UCLA can tinker with to have a two-back set. And then with the Bruins working with more traditional tight end sets, a power game could be very likely.
Seriously, it is exciting to think about all the possibilities for UCLA Football in the run game, which makes me even more anxious for the season to start. Only 14 days left… Go Bruins!