The 2017 UCLA Football team will have plenty of marquee players across both sides of the ball. There’s the stud QB with an axe to grind, the hard hitting MLB who will punish offenses and plenty of other players with their names on the minds of media. Who though is a player no one sees coming that will be crucial to the season?
For a team to win you need your big time players to step up in big moments. But what you also need is for your depth and an surprising two or three players to rise to the occasion. This UCLA Football team is no exception.
We talk at length about QB Josh Rosen, LB Kenny Young and a number of other players. We even talk a ton about the freshmen coming in despite the fact that they have yet to play a snap at the collegiate level.
But who’s someone who doesn’t get any love but is a player I see as a dark horse candidate for UCLA Football player of the year?
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Despite being a starter at CB headed into Fall camp, Denzel Fisher doesn’t get the same kind of love from the media or fans as someone like CB Nate Meadors.
He’s the least talked about among potential defensive starters but in my opinion offers some of the most upside. That being said there was a time when I wouldn’t have been so high on Fisher. I thought him a player with all the right tools but one that was unwilling to get dirty in the run game and beat guys up at the line.
Looking back, I wasn’t watching for the right things. Instead of seeing what he was capable of, I was only noting what I didn’t see. One of the number one rules in scouting players is don’t knock a guy for not doing something if he wasn’t asked to do it.
Fisher is a solid tackler in the run game but more importantly has proven himself to be a corner that can play in zone and man coverage.
Where I saw Fisher as playing off because I believed him to be soft, he was following his coaching directives. Fisher has the length and strength to press at the line and I believe we are going to continue seeing press and jams at the line like we did in 2016.
It isn’t just his length that will allow him to have such a good year. Fisher has swivel hips that allow him to turn and run with the best of them. His speed is also sneaky good.
This UCLA Football defense needs to quickly come together especially in the secondary. The Bruins lost four players who saw extensive time last season which makes Fisher all that more valuable. Compounding the need for the DBs to come together is the loss of experienced players upfront on the DL. This DB unit could really help out a pass rush by having blanket coverage in the back end.
Despite not playing much in his first three seasons, Fisher has stuck with the program and been an invaluable reserve. Look for him to burst onto the season and quell the early concerns about losing so many guys in the secondary.