UCLA Football: Three players who need a fresh start in 2018

PASADENA, CA - OCTOBER 21: Royce Freeman
PASADENA, CA - OCTOBER 21: Royce Freeman /
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Josh Wariboko-Alali

A former four star offensive guard out of Oklahoma, Wariboko-Alali seemed like the kind of talent that could immediately help the UCLA Football offensive line. A powerful, interior lineman with a an ability to change direction and move his feet with the best of them, I believed Wariboko-Alali, (WA) was in line to take over for Alex Redmond after he left school early for the NFL Draft. While Redmond had proved to be a solid starter, he never developed much after an impressive freshman campaign and WA had the higher ceiling. The future looked bright.

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However after redshirting as a freshman, WA found himself in a crowded guard position with Andre James, Kenny Lacy, Christian Garcia and converted DL Najee Toran. Additionally, while he was a highly coveted recruit and his signing was a major win for then OL coach Adrian Klemm, WA didn’t take the next step in his development the way he would have needed to in order to see more of the field.

That’s because Klemm, while a highly effective recruiter, proved time and time again that developing the talent he recruited was not his greatest strength. Proof of this alone can be seen in how many names were in play for one of the guard spots with WA being one of the best talents in that group.

In 2017 WA saw action in ten games as a reserve but was passed up by Michael Alves and again, Toran. The UCLA Football team could have used a few more OL signees on national signing day but if WA has a big bounce back year the going could be a little easier. He will have to take on Alves again and while incoming freshman Chris Murray could start immediately he’s most likely to end up a candidate for the center position. Wariboko-Alali has the perfect storm coming his way now he just needs to seize it.