Hello, friends! Long time, no blog. You may have noticed I was gone; I went on vacation. But I’ve returned, so here’s a roundup of what went down around UCLA athletics while I was out:
Football recruiting: The Bruins picked up two offensive line commits for the 2018 class: junior college transfer Jason Dickson and three-star prospect Chris Bleich.
- Dickson, a 6-foot-7, 295-pound tackle from Diablo Valley College, announced his commitment on June 16. He had offers from Colorado, Arizona State and TCU, among others.
- Bleich is a one-time Penn State commit, but pulled the pledge to his home-state team in April, and committed to the Bruins on June 19. The 6-foot-6, 313-pound lineman is 241st in ESPN’s 300 national recruiting rankings. Scout.com and Rivals.com tab Bleich as a three-star prospect.
- The Bruins have 11 total commits for the 2018 class, including three offensive linemen now.
MLB Draft: UCLA had six players and six signees taken in the draft. All three of the juniors who were drafted also signed, which means UCLA loses ace pitcher Griffin Canning (2nd round, Angels), first baseman Sean Bouchard (9th round, Rockies) and shortstop Nick Valaika (24th round, Pirates).
- Canning inked a deal with a $1,459,200 bonus as the 47th overall pick, according to MLB.com.
- Bouchard signed with the Rockies for $143,400 as the 266th overall pick, according to MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo.
- The Pirates will send Valaika, the 718th overall pick, to the rookie-level Bristol Pirates in the Appalachian League after agreeing to terms Tuesday.
Women’s water polo: Head coach Brandon Brooks stepped down on June 16 after eight years at the helm. He led the Bruins to four MPSF championships and three NCAA championship runner-up finishes, but never delivered a national title, despite a 202-41 overall record. The No. 1-ranked Bruins were upset in the NCAA final this year by Stanford. As an assistant, he won three national championships with the women’s team and another as an undergraduate assistant in 2004 with the men’s team. He was a back-to-back national champion as a player in 1999 and 2000 for the Bruins.