UCLA is in ESPN’s power rankings of college football’s top 25 teams during the next three seasons. The Bruins were not in these rankings last year but they are ranked No. 23 in this year’s rankings. As discussed in this article, ESPN is more optimistic about the Bruin’s offense than their defense but they did discuss and give some optimism to UCLA’s defense.
They discuss the arrival of new defensive coordinator D’Anton Lynn who has experience in the NFL. ESPN goes on to discuss the back four of the Bruin secondary in senior safety Kenny Churchwell III and sophomore cornerback Jaylin Davies as well as defensive backs Devin Kirkwood and Alex Johnson. They also wrote about the addition of transfer Jordan Anderson from Bowling Green.
ESPN highlighted that the strength of UCLA’s defense will more than likely be their front four. They discuss the defensive line will be anchored by end Laiatu Latuas who was a first-team All-Pac-12 selection. They also talked about the defensive line being solidified by Gabriel Murphy and Grayson Murphy. ESPN in the article as talked about the depth of the defensive with juniors Jay Toia and Gary Smith III as well as a transfer they added from the transfer portal in defensive end Jake Heimlicher who was an All-Ivy League selection at Penn.
The last thing ESPN writes about in terms of the Bruins’ defense is their linebackers. They mention the projected starters seniors Darius Muasau and JonJon Vaughns as well as another returner in senior Carl Jones Jr. They also like the future of UCLA’s defense as they mentioned that UCLA is bringing in two ESPN four-star student-athletes to their defense with 2023 recruit linebacker Tre Edwards and safety R.J. Jones and has a commitment from 2024 safety Khristian Dunbar-Hawkins.