In the three months that followed one of the more remarkable collegiate debuts of the past decade, Myles Jack is ready for round two.
After winning Pac-12 Freshman of the Year on both sides of the ball, the UCLA linebacker is 10 pounds heavier — up to what he said is a comfortable 230. He has tried to improve his pass-rushing after a one-sack season, working with offensive linemen Caleb Benenoch and Kenny Lacy three to four times a week through the winter. And he is ready to fill the void left by All-American Anthony Barr.
Just 18 years old, Jack said he’s looking for 100 tackles and 10 touchdowns as a sophomore — a goal even he admitted Tuesday isn’t entirely realistic. (He had 76 and seven in 2012.) More importantly, however, he’s trying to grasp more of the defensive playbook. After focusing on mastering his own role at the behest of the coaching staff last season, he now feels the onus to become familiar with everyone else’s.
“Just really know what’s going on,” Jack said. “Develop my voice.”
As one of UCLA’s two returning starters at linebacker, he wants to help inside linebacker Eric Kendricks direct the defense.
And now, the requisite question: Will the 6-foot-1 dynamo reprise his part-time role on offense after rushing for seven touchdowns in four games late last season?
“You guys probably won’t see it (in spring),” he said. “We never really practiced it last year. It was really a game-time thing; we’d actually run it live and in color. You probably won’t see me running the ball unless I get an interception or a fumble recovery. I wouldn’t count on it.”
In the video above, Jack also talked about how impressed he’s been with true freshman Zach Whitley, and new defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich.