JJ Molson, K
Molson is nearly automatic. Last season, the Bruins heavily relied on the kicker for points early in the season when the offense could barely get downfield. Though his field goal percentage dropped from 81.0% in 2017 to 73.7% in 2018 (a lot of this could be blamed on penalties and lousy field position), Molson was consistent. Molson can also hit long shots as he was 6/8 from between 40 and 49 yards. This season should only help his case as the offense will be better, but it will help take the pressure off of his leg, allowing him to take more stress-free kicks.
Darnay Holmes, CB
Holmes is one of two players on this list that is a junior which says a lot about what kind of player he is. Not only has he been a starter since his freshman year, but he has been one of the best playmakers on defense. He is solid in coverage, a hard hitter and one smart football player. Last season, he was 5th on the team in total tackles (48) and first in interceptions (3) and breakups (11). As one of the leaders of the defense, expect a big year from Holmes, one that could get him drafted high in 2020.
NFL teams are always looking for workhorses, and KLS is the epitome of this. With an abundance of exits and injuries last season, Lucier-South stepped up in a big way and put a lot of weight on his shoulders. Not only was he great in coverage and pursuit, but he became the team’s best pass rusher as he had 11.5 tackles for a loss and three sacks, both team highs. Though he missed the second part of Spring Practice due to academics, expect him to come back in the summer with a renewed focus for 2019.
Boss Tagaloa, C
Looking back at the 2018 season, the offensive line started to make massive improvements in Game 4. That was when Tagaloa returned from a 3-game suspension to anchor an OL in need of leadership. UCLA started the season unable to move the ball, but that task became more attainable with Tagaloa, a former defensive lineman, who was inserted into the line. In the first four games of the season, UCLA could only gain 311.3 yards. In their last four, that shot up to 485.5. With Tagaloa starting this season in the middle of the line, we should see more of the latter numbers throughout 2019.