Half a day after his first extended practice, Eddie Vanderdoes started turning heads.
Still working his way back from a tight back, the 6-foot-3, 310-pound defensive end commanded regular double teams — quickly backing up his ranking as the No. 21 recruit in the country. Even when going up against starting offensive linemen Caleb Benenoch and Torian White, Vanderdoes more than held his own.
Vanderdoes looked more bothered by fatigue Friday night than by the back issues (likely a herniated disc) that had sidelined him for over a week. If the injury doesn’t flare up again, the Auburn, Calif., native will be a beast.
— Before practice started, quarterback Brett Hundley tried to drill a fast-moving camera drone from at least 40 yards away. As teammates and coaches formed an eager audience, he missed the target by just two or three feet. Even got plenty and oohs and aahs out of the crowd.
— Devin Fuller is such a difficult cover coming out of the slot. The sophomore receiver, who is wrapping up his first full offseason at the position, finds seams and separates himself from defenders almost at will. On Friday, he burned both defensive back Anthony Jefferson and linebacker Myles Jack to cap a 60-yard touchdown pass from Hundley.
— Junior tailback Jordon James still appears to lead the competition for a starting spot, but Paul Perkins had one of his best practices of fall camp Friday night. The redshirt freshman broke off some nice runs against the second-team defense, hinting at the preseason hype he got from Hundley in Sports Illustrated Overall, though, the running back competition has not been very exciting. Coaches have been loath to admit it, but the Bruins will clearly lean more on the pass this season.
— Inside linebacker Eric Kendricks participated in 7-on-7 drills for the first time after sitting out most of fall camp recovering from an ankle procedure. Head coach Jim Mora said earlier this week that the junior will likely return in full on Monday.
— Priest Willis hasn’t impressed as much in the past few days, but I’d still bet on him securing a starting spot at some point in the season. UCLA’s secondary still causes great concern, and would have been in horrid shape had Willis not been academically cleared by the NCAA.
Anthony Jefferson has not looked as good as he did in spring, and looks like he could start at safety while seeing some time at corner as well. Sophomore Fabian Moreau and redshirt freshman Ishmael Adams should be the starting corners on Aug. 31.