UCLA Football: Caleb Wilson will have a huge impact in his return

PASADENA, CA - SEPTEMBER 09: Caleb Wilson /

Coming off of a season-ending injury midway through 2017, UCLA football TE Caleb Wilson is looking to have another breakout season, which could be bigger under the tutelage of Chip Kelly.

The 2017 season served as a coming out year for UCLA football tight end Caleb Wilson. Before sustaining a foot injury which sidelined him for much of the season, Wilson managed to reel in 38 catches for a total of 490 yards in merely five games.

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By January, without having played a single game since the end of September, Wilson held the fifth highest total yards of any receiver on the Bruins’ roster. With such a tantalizing start to the year, one that quite possibly cemented him as a household name amongst the Bruin faithful, many were left to wonder just how good Wilson would be this upcoming season and how much of an impact he would truly make once he fully recovered from his injury.

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Much of the hype surrounding Wilson as he enters into his redshirt junior season is a result of the preseason analytics released by the Pro Football Focus website. According to their numbers, the Bruins’ TE has a legitimate chance to win the Heisman Trophy, being the highest rated returning player on a Power Five conference roster. It is safe to say that Wilson holds some of the loftiest expectations of any of his teammates going into 2018. Let it be known, he will live up to them.

With the departure of Jim Mora and the hiring of Chip Kelly at the end of the 2017 season, UCLA now has one of the most brilliants offensive minds running their program. Regardless of who eventually starts under center, the combination of Kelly’s system and Wilson’s athletic ability could be one of the deadliest tandems in the FBS.

One of the most appealing aspects of Wilson’s game is his grit. Initially a quarterback in high school and then a walk-on TE for the USC Trojans before arriving in Westwood, Wilson has used two of his greatest weapons to make a name for himself in college football: hard work and determination.

These two attributes of his were on full display in the Bruins’ season opener last year against Texas A&M. With UCLA facing what seemed to be an insurmountable double-digit deficit entering the second half, Wilson became quarterback Josh Rosen’s right-hand man. He finished with 15 receptions for 208 yards, and the Bruins were able to capture a huge come from behind “W.” Wilson will carry that same grit into this season, which is why he will have a significant impact on UCLA’s success.

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As a result of a long recovery period from his foot injury, however, it may take Wilson a few weeks to shake off the rust and be playing at his peak ability. Once he gets there, though, opposing defenses may find themselves with their hands full.