Barring injury, quarterback will be the position of least concern at UCLA. Brett Hundley will start, and he will vie for All-Pac-12 first-team honors — if not an eventual Heisman. The more intriguing battle through fall is which Bruin backs him up, or replaces him in case of injury.
Key returners: Let’s talk a little bit about Hundley first. The redshirt sophomore is UCLA’s best quarterback in a decade, and is talented enough that leaving for the NFL is a legitimate proposition. Right now, I’d bet he stays a third season — much like Andrew Luck and Sam Bradford did at Stanford and Oklahoma in recent years.
The main knock on Hundley last year was his decision-making; too often, the talented freshman held on to the ball when he should have tossed it away. He also didn’t slide well, having simply bowled through defenders until college. In spring practices, he showed marked improvement on all fronts.
Already gifted with a prototypical frame, he added lean muscle through the offseason, crucial given the 52 sacks he took last year and UCLA’s questions on the offensive line. If an injury forced Hundley to miss significant time, the Bruins would likely miss a bowl berth.
The next three names aren’t newcomers to the program, but none have taken an in-game snap. T.J. Millweard had the best April showing after Hundley, though the gap between the two is still immense. Millweard more or less alternated good spring practices with Jerry Neuheisel, but has a much stronger arm than the former UCLA coach’s son. Walk-on quarterback Mike Fafaul gets plenty of public praise from the coaching staff, but is on the outside looking in.
Key newcomers: Asiantii Woulard was a late commitment for UCLA, and by most accounts is a raw athlete who isn’t a refined passer. Still, the competition at backup through spring was ordinary enough that the true freshman could become No. 2 on the depth chart. The former Elite 11 MVP only played quarterback through the latter half of high school, switching from wide receiver, so he’ll make plenty of mistakes early.
Brendan Cross also enrolled at UCLA after graduating from Wake Forest, but only completed five of his 14 passes as a Demon Deacon. He is the son of former Bruin offensive lineman Randy Cross, a College Football Hall of Famer.
Projected depth chart:
Brett Hundley, So., 6-3, 222
T.J. Millweard, Fr., 6-3, 210
Asiantii Woulard, Fr., 6-3, 205
Jerry Neuheisel, Fr., 6-1, 192
Mike Fafaul, Fr., 6-1, 201
Brendan Cross, Sr., 6-2, 200