Here are weekend highlights from the UCLA athletics programs
- Softball swept Arizona State at home, winning the first two games via walk-off home runs. Mysha Sataraka sealed an 8-6 win on Friday with a three-run homer, then Gabrielle Maurice hit another three-run shot to finish a comeback 6-5 win on Saturday. Madeline Jelenicki led the Bruins on Sunday with two home runs and five RBIs in a 9-4 victory.
Ka’imi Fairbairn (left) and Jake Brendel will sign as undrafted free agents. (Photos by Sarah Reingewirtz and Keith Birmingham // Pasadena Star-News)
After eight UCLA Bruins were picked in the NFL Draft, two more agreed to sign as undrafted free agents. Kicker Ka’imi Fairbairn agreed to a deal with the Houston Texans and center Jake Brendel will head to Texas as well, signing with the Dallas Cowboys.
Fairbairn was the 2015 Lou Groza Award winner as the most outstanding place kicker in the nation. He is the Pac-12’s all-time leading scorer and finished his UCLA career with a streak of 41 consecutive made field goals from inside 35 yards. He was a consensus first-team All-American and set the UCLA record for longest field goal at 60 yards, which was also a record for the longest ever in a conference game.
Brendel was the three-time captain for the Bruins and graduated as the school’s all-time leader in game started (52).
Here’s the final list of UCLA players who who picked in the NFL Draft this weekend. Eight is a UCLA record since the draft went to seven rounds in 1994 and most for the program since 1988.
- DT Kenny Clark: 1st round, 27th pick (27th overall), Green Bay
- LB Myles Jack: 2nd round, 5th pick (36th overall), Jacksonville
- OT Caleb Benenoch: 5th round, 9th pick (148th overall), Tampa Bay
- RB Paul Perkins: 5th round, 10th pick (149th overall), New York Giants
- WR Jordan Payton: 5th round, 15th pick (154th overall), Cleveland
- LB Aaron Wallace: 7th round, 1st pick (222nd overall), Tennessee
- TE Thomas Duarte: 7th round, 10th pick (231st overall), Miami
- WR Devin Fuller: 7th round, 17th pick (238th overall), Atlanta
Former UCLA receiver Devin Fuller. Photo by Wily Low // AP
Former UCLA wide receiver Devin Fuller was drafted as the 17th pick in the seventh round (238th overall) by the Atlanta Falcons. The speedy receiver had 24 catches for 259 yards last season with three touchdowns. He also handled punt and kick return duties, averaging 11.8 yards on punt returns and 24.4 yards on kick returns.
He was the third Bruins picked in the seventh round (after linebacker Aaron Wallace and tight end Thomas Duarte) and the eighth UCLA player selected overall. It is already the largest draft class from UCLA ever since the draft went to a seven-round format. It’s also the most since 1988 when the Bruins had 10 players taken.
Former UCLA receiver/tight end Thomas Duarte. Photo by Keith Birmingham // Pasadena Star News
Tight end Thomas Duarte went to Miami Dolphins as the 10th pick in the seventh round.
The 6-foot-2, 231-pound tight end led the Bruins in touchdown receptions last year with 10. He had 53 catches for 872 yards (both were second on the team). Duarte was a second-team All-Pac-12 selection during his junior year, after which he left school early to declare for the draft.
Duarte fell to the seventh round after being projected as more of a fourth-to-sixth-round pick.