Is UCLA’s best offensive player … Malcolm Bunche?
Maybe in the wonky world of preseason all-conference teams. College football writer Phil Steele released his All-Pac-12 selections today, going four lineups deep on offense, defense, and special teams.
Seven Bruins made the four offensive teams, but the one ahead of them was arguably the strangest pick in the entire list. Bunche is no doubt an important piece of UCLA’s offensive line this upcoming season, but he transferred from Miami in the first place because he lost playing time. It’s also unclear whether the 6-foot-7 lineman is best suited at guard at tackle, though he practiced more at the former in spring.
Quarterback Brett Hundley, right guard Alex Redmond, and Y-receiver Thomas Duarte each made the second team, with Duarte slotted in at tight end. Center Jake Brendel was joined on the third team by running back Jordon James (not entirely out of the question if he’s healthy all season), while receiver Devin Fuller was a fourth-team mention.
The defense had some surprise absences. Linebacker Myles Jack was an obvious pick for the first team, and also started on Steele’s preseason All-American team. He’s followed by linebacker Eric Kendricks and safety Anthony Jefferson (second team), as well as defensive end Eddie Vanderdoes and safety Randall Goforth (third).
Apparently still under the radar are defensive end Owamagbe Odighizuwa, nose tackle Kenny Clark and cornerback Fabian Moreau — all of whom could be in the NFL two years from now.
Punter Sean Covington made Steele’s second team along with cornerback Ishmael Adams, listed as the conference’s second-best kick returner behind Stanford’s Ty Montgomery.