— Kene Orjioke will be limited to sideline work for the rest of spring as he recovers from a torn ACL he suffered in October, but UCLA head coach Jim Mora said he was sure that the outside linebacker will be ready for fall. Orjioke had to have an additional operation to have scar tissue scoped out, but appears to be back on schedule in his rehab.
He received a hardship waiver after playing only four games last season, so he’ll be a redshirt junior this fall. The same goes for defensive backs Ishmael Adams and Randall Goforth, who got waivers for the 2012 and 2014 seasons, respectively.
NaJee Toran, who started one game as an offensive guard last season, also received a waiver. He will be a redshirt freshman after switching to defensive line.
— Thursday’s practice was walk-on Mike Fafaul’s turn to run with the first-team offense, and he actually looked more effective than Jerry Neuheisel did on Wednesday. His best throw was probably one to Alex Van Dyke, who jumped up to grab the ball over Ishmael Adams.
“I think what you’re seeing here is, the quarterback that works with the ones has the best day,” Mora said. “That’s really how it should be. He’s got a good offensive line in front of him. He’s got good receivers that are dependable, run consistent routes and catch the ball well. You’ve got a running game that you can depend on. Things are just a little more clean for the guy running with the ones.”
Rosen looked OK on the second team, but was under significant pressure most of the day. He did roll out to the right and zip a beautiful pass to walk-on receiver Brad Sochowski, the type of play that he tends to make at least once a day.
Jerry Neuheisel and Asiantii Woulard both looked good in seven-on-seven drills, and Woulard in particular probably had his best day of the spring. It’s harder to get a handle on quarterbacks when they’re not facing any sort of pass rush, but the redshirt sophomore showed a lot of velocity on a red-zone pass to Aaron Sharp, and just missed another to Jordan Lasley through a tight window.
Mora said he’ll keep all four quarterbacks in the competition at least through Monday night, UCLA’s eighth practice, before trimming down the list. That would give each of them enough first-team reps for the coaches to evaluate.
— Receiver Devin Fuller, who threw a touchdown pass in 2013, got some reps in a Wildcat package today.
— Mora listed a few younger players who have stood out to him so far in spring: Van Dyke, safety Adarius Pickett, running back Nate Starks, cornerback Denzel Fisher, cornerback Johnny Johnson and linebacker Cameron Griffin.
— J.J. Molson, whom Chris Sailer ranks as his top kicker prospect in 2016, was out at UCLA’s practice today.