UCLA offensive lineman Caleb Benenoch enters NFL draft

UCLA offensive lineman Caleb Benenoch (74) is the third Bruin to declare for the NFL draft in less thank a week. (Scott Varley/Staff)

UCLA offensive lineman Caleb Benenoch (74) is the third Bruin to declare for the NFL draft in less thank a week. (Scott Varley/Staff)

UCLA offensive lineman Caleb Benenoch has joined the exodus to the 2016 NFL draft, becoming the third Bruin to declare this week.

The three-year starter, who has played both guard and tackle, announced his decision to go pro on Thursday morning — joining nose tackle Kenny Clark and running back Paul Perkins in leaving the team this week. Benenoch likely projects as a late-round pick, but has physical upside at 6-foot-5, 305 pounds.

“I am excited to pursue my dream and I will never forget the memories I shared with my teammates and friends at UCLA,” Benenoch wrote on Twitter. “The bonds that I formed with my brothers will last a lifetime.”

Part of a lauded 2013 recruiting class, the Katy, Texas moved into the first-string lineup midway through his true freshman season. He leaves UCLA with 35 starts under his belt, playing mostly at right tackle.

His departure means that the Bruins will enter 2016 without most of its starting offensive line this past season. Four-year center Jake Brendel is graduating, while offensive guard Alex Redmond left the team and signed with an agent before the Foster Farms Bowl. Left tackle Conor McDermott, who turned 23 in October, could also enter the draft.

If McDermott declares, UCLA will be left with three offensive linemen with starting experience: guard Kenny Lacy (12 games), tackle Kolton Miller (four), and Scott Quessenberry — who will likely replace Brendel at center after playing mostly guard through two seasons. Quessenberry started 19 games as a freshman and sophomore, but sat out all of 2015 recovering from shoulder surgeries.

  • gotroy22

    Is the Mora to Miami rumor true? Is this why all the stars are abandoning ship?

    • 88 Straight

      Benenoch isn’t a star. Neither is Redmond. Neither is McDermott if he leaves.

      • EncinitasBruin

        Exactly. what is the average number of players who go pro on any top 25 FBS team each year? Thus far, UCLA has lost 4 players to the NFL (Jack, Redmond, Benenoch, Perkins). How many has SC lost? Or Oregon? Mora’s going nowhere, and the Bruins are still loaded with talent. What is obvious, however, is that our OL is thin and we need to find the solutions.

        • 88 Straight

          The OL is getting thinner every day. McDermott is expected to leave and he has been injured for a good chunk of his career. We had a nice haul last year but now it looks like we need at least 5 this year with 2 or 3 being tackles.

          • gotroy22

            You should take 5 OL every year, the wash out rate is very high.

        • 88 Straight

          The OL is getting thinner every day. McDermott is expected to leave and he has been injured for a good chunk of his career. We had a nice haul last year but now it looks like we need at least 5 this year with 2 or 3 being tackles.

        • Cliff Sakata

          The Mora gone rumor is gaining serious traction.

          • jameskatt

            False rumor.

        • gotroy22

          Just Sua so far…

      • gotroy22

        Jack wasn’t a star? Perkins wasn’t a star?

  • 88 Straight

    Just a dumb decision. Who is advising these kids?

    • Laker Rod

      The dumb decision was playing both Redmond and Benenoch as true freshmen. They would not be leaving as redshirt sophomores.

      Hopefully Poasi Moala RJr can fill in at this right guard spot. Or maybe Batemen or Lopez is the answer.

      The answer is certainly NOT a true freshman offensive lineman.

      Is this finally registering with you in how it’s not that simple of “play the best player regardless of class”.

      Guys at Stanford don’t really “start” on the O line or D line until they are a redshirt sophomore at the earliest for the most part. They have played some true frosh at times but they have been back ups. So accordingly, since they don’t have much visible exposure…they tend to stay through their senior years.

      Guys leaving early at UCLA…something is rotten in Denmark for all this to be happening.

      • 88 Straight

        Something may be rotten. There are rumors of discord with Klemm.

        First, I don’t agree that had they redshirted they wouldn’t be leaving. It’s simply speculation on your part and not something that can be proven. UCLA did not have much talent on the OL in Mora’s 2nd year and needed to play too many freshmen on the OL. We may see history repeat itself in 2016.

        • Laker Rod

          YOU are the one who does not get it. I’m the one that told YOU that if the best player that is available is a true freshmen then it must mean we’re not very good.

          All you like to do is bring up the “exceptions”. You try to point out a true frosh left tackle at Clemson or Bama at TE. Get real. They are NOT the reason as to why those teams are winning. Get it through your thick skull.

          Please provide examples of redshirt sophomores who left early. You as usual don’t know what you are talking about. There is no way Benenoch and Redmond would be leaving as redshirt sophomores.

          And as your usual excuse you then say UCLA had nobody else to play so that is why all of Redmond, Benenoch, and even Quessenberry played as true frosh. You are WRONG again. UCLA could have played Ben Wysocki instead of Benenoch. Heck…Wysocki even played well against USC where Benenoch got himself kicked out. Wysocki even outplayed Benenoch. UCLA also had Kevin McReynolds on the O line in 2013. It was the coaches choice to do what they did. There was even Carl Hulick available as a redshirt frosh in 2013.

          Even if some of the guys like McReynolds or Hulick were not as “talented” sometimes you just have to bite the bullet. Also…McReynolds was a 4 star recruit and Hulick 3 stars. So they were not exactly lacking talent out of high school. Again…the real problem is obvious. Adrian Klemm doesn’t know how to develop linemen and teach them proper technique and discipline.

          And it’s ridiculous for you to say that we may see history repeat itself in 2016. One thing it does prove though is how stupid and stubbron you and the UCLA fan base are. Just continually make the same mistakes over and over and over.

          UCLA already lost one of the offensive lineman from 2015 in Fred Ulu Perry. Tevita Halalilo may not even be fully recovered by spring practice and his progess has been way slowed down by his leg injury.

          So we have two guys who could possibly helpd in Andre James and Josh Wariboko for now.

          If you look back…the dumb mistake again by the UCLA coaches was to take 7 freshman offensive linemen in the 2013 class.

          1. Benenoch
          2. Redmond
          3. Quessenberry
          4. Poasi Moala
          5. Oscar Lopez
          6. Kenny Lacy
          7. Christian Morris

          If UCLA needed help immediately then go after a JC transfer. Taking 7 in class messes up the class spacing. What happens is that future recruits see a glut of young linemen and lose interest in UCLA. This is exactly what happened.

          From the 2014 class UCLA only got Najee Toran and Kolton Miler. Since Toran moved to D line…we have one freakin lineman from 2014.

          To follow up with only 4 in 2015 was another mistake since they only took 2 the previous class.

          I repeat..if UCLA had a more football educated fan base…these potential problems would be seeing way ahead of time. Instead we get idiots like yourself you try to argue all of these points and try to justify what the existing coaches did..but then you speak up criticizing the same coaches if they leave. You and others will be bad mouthing Klemm once he’s gone.

          I rarely ever request a coach to be fired. I want him/them to fix the problem and do these the right way and these things don’t happen and can’t be fixed over night. It’s amazing how these coaches can’t figure this stuff out. No vision and no patience and no planning.

          Mora already f’d up this year’s recruiting. He never targeted linemen early enough…especially on the O line. We are still lacking a FRESHMAN big defensive tackle and we are lacking about 3 freshmen offensive linemen and we should seriously look at a JC transfer O lineman.

          • 88 Straight

            I bring up the exceptions because only the exceptions should play as true freshman. THAT is the point. The freshman that is the best player is the exception, not the rule. You never allow for the exceptions in your thought process.

            I just pointed out the exceptional true freshman that are playing for elite teams. What I didn’t say was that they were the reason those teams were doing well. I was just pointing out that idiots and dummies like Saban, Stoops and Swinney played the guy that they thought was the best player at their respective positions. I hate to confuse you with facts. If these guys are playing for their teams, then it is clear that they are contributing to their team’s success. Otherwise, why would they be playing?

          • Laker Rod

            You say only the “exceptions” should play now? So why don’t you just come out and admit then that UCLA has made plenty of mistakes in playing true freshmen.

            You never do this. Go ahead and come up with a list. Who were okay and who were not. You can’t use hindsight either. Chris Clark? Halalilo? Fred Ulu Perry? Kylie Fitts? Ellis McCarthy? Stan Hasiak, Micah Kia, List goes on and on. This is where your flaw is.

            And go find where I said Kenny Clark should have redshirted. All I ever said was that if UCLA continues to play guys like this as true frosh then UCLA never reaps the benefits of their final year or potentially redshirted year and often times they leave after their true junior year.

            Just remember…UCLA is NOT the same as other schools. The problem is NOT in the “admissions” standards for freshmen. The problem pertains to the “academic retention”.

            Admissions difficulties pertains more to JC transfers.

            The demands that are put on the student athletes are tremendous all across the board but at UCLA it’s way tougher also.

            You don’t even offer any solutions to what UCLA is facing. All you do is expect them to try and follow what other schools do and then bring up the “exceptional” true freshmen they are playing. Come on.

            UCLA has been trying to win off of this same concept you preach every freakin year for a very long time. It doesn’t work.

            I repeat…just follow what Stanford has done. Stanford was way worse than UCLA pre-2009. Heck…UCLA’s 4-8 team in 2008 even beat Stanford and Harbaugh. But Harbaugh was patient. He stockpiled the linemen and even tight ends.

            Maybe what UCLA needs to be doing is simply stop getting the bare mininum linemen each year where they are faced to even consider having to play a true frosh. For UCLA…it isn’t the “exception”….do you finally get it?

            So in other words…you said 2016 may be another year where some true freshmen O linemen need to play…well…if this is the case..then why don’t they get a few more and then redshirt those guys.

  • EncinitasBruin

    Kid could go undrafted. Sad.

    • jameskatt

      Not everyone makes it in the NFL, nor lasts long. Johnathan Franklin sure didn’t last very long – knocked out by a neck injury.

      Perhaps Caleb realized he wasn’t going to get any better by playing 2 more years at UCLA, that he had reached his talent and experience ceiling. And he wanted to avoid getting further injured. So going for the NFL draft now is better than later.

    • gotroy22

      Isn’t he the genius that sucker punched a Trojan DL and got thrown out of the 2013 SC game about 3 minutes into the first quarter?

      • Laker Rod

        Wasn’t a sucker punch. Trojan DL guy was causing the issue just like every other Trojan was at the start of the game. Ish Adams could have gotten thrown out also.

        In the end, Ben Wysocki replaced Benenoch and did a better job anyhow and UCLA won.

        • gotroy22

          Yes Wysocki saved the ruins, no thanks to Benenoch. I thought that was going to be the game changer.

  • Richard

    Benny “no star” ??? He ate Leonard’s Williams lunch, all day, everyday; he played against him. “No star ” ??? Behind only Big Jonathan Ogden & XSF, he is the third best OL we’ve had in 25 yrs !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    If McDermott goes, we will start an all new OL, but for Miller & Quizz. Tevita & Warbuckets better get their s___ together post haste. I want them starting immediately w/ ample PT for Andre James
    # NEW BREED Rise Up & Take Over the World !!
    or at least give us some, any, inside running game – blow someone off the line inside, FOR ONCE.
    # Where is big bad Jeff Baca when we need him ??

    • gotroy22

      Better bring Mike Martz in to teach Rosen how to get rid of the football in 2 seconds or less.

      • Richard

        Prescient !!!!!! esp as Don Coryell is no longer available.
        Actually, JR gets the ball out VERY quickly. He improved our “sacks given up” # by about 80% this season.

        • gotroy22

          The ruins need to work on his rolling out and throwing on the run.

          • Richard

            Not a fan of the roll out throw. Not sure, in fact, whether that helped Kessler. He’s a good athlete, former BB player but u can’t get anything on the ball while rolling out.
            Possible big UCLA news Monday. Mazzone may be on his way to A&M. He talked to them last week & A&M just announced the firing of their OC. # Keep hope alive.
            If so, think we go after Houston OC Major Applewhite who took UH to the #4 O in the nation last year

  • Luis Wuence

    Hey jack, lets assume for a minute that mora does go back to the nfl. Who could you see us going after to be our new coach? Kevin sumlin?

    • gotroy22

      There will be 8 ex-NFL coaches available for you ruins to hire Monday morning. If only Pat Haden hadn’t been drunk and waited…

  • UCLAcamp9

    “Exodus”. Interesting choice of word to use when describing a our college football players desire to pursue their dreams. Thankfully UCLA was able to help them accomplish this feat.

    • jameskatt

      I would call it early graduations with a football degree.

      • gotroy22

        How soon before the college presidents stop this charade?

    • EncinitasBruin

      Four players turning pro does not an exodus make. If we lose 6-7? Yes.

      • Laker Rod

        What about Fred Ulu Perry leaving and the same for Chris Clark.

        You know what the truly sad part is to me. It’s stuff like Myles Jack leaving before even finishing the season. The same can be said of Redmond who left even before the final bowl game. Same for Fred Ulu Perry before the USC game and the same for Chris Clark.

        The above is all unprecedented at UCLA. Before this…I never heard of a single player quitting.

        Kenny Clark, Caleb Benenoch, and Paul Perkins are all fine. As much as I would like each of them to stay…they at least finished out the season.

  • 88 Straight

    Happy New Year everyone! And Happy 2017 for Laker Rod (I assume he is redshirting in 2016!) 🙂

  • j metaphor

    Hmmmm, Houston, Do we have a problem?
    While this may be the new norm, I am having trouble adjusting to it.
    Linemen know they have a limited shelf life so may bolt early to maximize their earning potential. What I want to know is whether they know something I don’t.

    • guest

      limited shelf life? offensive linemen last forever in the NFL. they have the longest and most shifted aging curve of all the positions.

    • jameskatt

      Linemen usually have 10+ year careers in the NFL – the longest of any position.

      Caleb Benenoch wants to graduate early with his football degree and start earning money in his career ASAP. Can’t blame him. He probably wants to also avoid the injury bug that has haunted UCLA the past 2 years.

    • gotroy22

      Offensive Linemen usually need 4-5 years of seasoning before the NFL. This is a new trend.

  • j metaphor

    Wow, Jack Wang (real name) is blanketing UCLA football with coverage. Every time a player declares for the NFL he writes a column. Surn, not the same day they declare but within a day or so.
    Nice coverage, Wang.

  • Sandy Underpants

    We need to get rid of all this dead weight. I mean we lost the Chicken Bowl to a team with a losing record!!! I wish Rosen could declare, Rod Gilmore would take him #1, I’m sure there’s a loophole we could find to let him go.

    • EncinitasBruin

      Rumor has it that SC’s entire OL and DL is declaring after getting clown-stomped by an unrated, underdog Wisconsin team. 8-6 for a Trojan team that started the season #7 and a dark horse to make the playoff. Good luck against Alabama. I’m sure Max Browne or Sam Darnold will have a breakout game to put them in the running for the Heisman.

      • Sandy Underpants

        The clown stopping was from Nebraska. USC was still in the game when the clock struck 0. UCLA football is just a 0.

        • 88 Straight

          Glad you enjoyed your moral victory Sandy! It doesn’t sound like the rest of the Trojan nations was a satisfied with coming close to winning as you were….and that is only because the refs wiped a Wisconsin TD off the board.

          • gotroy22

            Brainless rah rahs just like to shake their Cardinal and Gold pom poms and go to the post game cocktail parties.

        • EncinitasBruin

          Now you and I and all of LA know that’s not true. I like CK, class act and all, but zero fourth quarter comebacks in a four-year career. 8-6 after so much promise. Such a shame.

          • gotroy22

            And a sterling 1-3 against the ruins. That’s almost Rob Johnsonian.

        • gotroy22

          Yes we should be proud of the mutiny at the end of the NEB game! Nothing clownish about the QB refusing to throw a Hail Mary.

    • gotroy22

      Like losing to Georgia Tech in the Sun Bowl. Surely you remember that, Rah Rah.

  • keptycho

    Sorry, but I don’t see us getting out of the ‘alsoran’ category with Mora at the helm.

    • gotroy22

      After six decades shouldn’t you ruins accept your pledge status?

  • Sam Bam

    Wow. Wolf reports BS and Wang reports every two days. The budget for laptops must be low. But seriously…Why are all these Bruins leaving? Even with Rosen under center the Bruins are packing their bags at a disturbing rate. Are they sick of Mora? Klemm?

    • gotroy22

      You should be thankful we have Soctt Wolf instead of a guy who uses the Pony Express.

      • Sam Bam

        Yeah!