Maurice Jones-Drew leads 2017 UCLA Hall of Fame Class

Maurice Jones-Drew (pictured in 2005) will be inducted into the UCLA Hall of Fame this year. (Photo by Stephen Dunn /Getty Images)

Three-time NFL Pro-Bowler Maurice Jones-Drew leads UCLA’s nine-member 2017 Hall of Fame Class, which was announced on Wednesday.

The group, which includes three Olympians and a combined 17 national championships, will be inducted into the UCLA Hall of Fame on Oct. 20 and honored during halftime of UCLA’s game against Oregon at the Rose Bowl on Oct. 21.

Jones-Drew left UCLA in 2005 with school records in career and single-season all-purpose yards, touchdowns in a game, single-game rushing yards and single-season punt returns for touchdowns. His punt return average of 28.5 yards in 2005 is still the NCAA record. During his NFL career, he rushed for 1,000-yards three times, including a league-leading 1,606 in 2011.

Other Hall of Fame inductees: Continue reading “Maurice Jones-Drew leads 2017 UCLA Hall of Fame Class” »

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UCLA football links: Kenny Young on Lott IMPACT Trophy watch list

PASADENA, CA – SEPTEMBER 24: Kenny Young #42 of the UCLA Bruins returns his interception as he looks for a block from Adarius Pickett #6 during the first quarter against the Stanford Cardinal at Rose Bowl on September 24, 2016 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

UCLA middle linebacker Kenny Young was one of 42 players named to the Lott IMPACT Trophy watch list on Friday.

Young, who is coming off a breakout junior year with the Bruins, was sixth in the Pac-12 in tackling last year with 90 total tackles (7.5 per game). He had five sacks, which ranked second on the team, one interception and three fumble recoveries. With the departure of the conference’s leading tackler Jayon Brown, Young will be the centerpiece of UCLA’s linebacking unit this season.

Young would be the third UCLA linebacker to win the Lott Trophy, which recognizes the top defensive player in the country while also celebrating the player’s off-the-field characteristics. Anthony Barr and Eric Kendricks won the award in back-to-back years in 2013 and 2014, respectively.

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How UCLA stacked up in the NCAA’s latest APR scores

The NCAA released its latest Academic Progress Rate (APR) numbers Wednesday and all of UCLA’s teams are well in the clear of any penalties while six teams earned APR Public Recognition awards for being in the top 10 percent of their sports.

The football team’s multi-year score of 971 is tied for sixth in the Pac-12. UCLA’s 2015-16 score of 973 improved 10 points from the previous year. Coach Jim Mora earns a total of $70,000 in incentives for the football team’s single-year APR score of 970 or higher, according to his contract.

The men’s basketball team’s multi-year score dipped 12 points after it scored a 907 for the 2015-16 season, by far the lowest for any UCLA team this year. UCLA’s 950 multi-year score is the second-lowest among Pac-12 men’s basketball teams, ahead of only Oregon State’s 945.

UCLA’s six teams that earned perfect multi-year scores: men’s tennis, men’s volleyball, women’s water polo, women’s golf, women’s cross country and women’s beach volleyball.

APR is a measure of academic retention and eligibility. Each scholarship athlete is awarded a point for returning to school and another for being academically eligible. The total for a team is divided by the possible points and multiplied by 1000. Teams must earn a four-year APR of 930 to compete in postseason play.

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Early signing period for Division I football approved

The Collegiate Commissioners Association approved an early signing period for Division I football on Monday, officially allowing recruits in the 2018 class to sign their national letters of intent as early as Dec. 20.

The traditional signing period that begins in February is still available, but now recruits can choose to sign during a 72-hour window from Dec. 20-22. The new period coincides with the first three days of the junior college transfer signing period. The NCAA Division I Council already approved the change in April.

UCLA has nine verbal commits so far for the 2018 class who could consider using the early signing period to lock down their spots in Westwood. The group is led by four-star quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson from Las Vegas’ Bishop Gorman and includes three safeties: four-star prospects Stephan Blaylock (St. John Bosco) and Cam’ron Jones (Mansfield High, Texas) and three-star recruit Jhevon Hill (Cajon).

Other UCLA verbal commits:

  • ATH Isaiah Johnson
  • DL Aaron Maldonado
  • OT Blake McDonald
  • WR Kyle Phillips
  • RB AJ Carter
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Cameron Judge, Eli Ankou selected in CFL Draft

UCLA linebacker Cameron Judge (right) was the second overall pick in the CFL Draft on Sunday. (The Associated Press)

Cameron Judge and Eli Ankou are still holding on to their NFL dreams, but the pair of former UCLA Bruins received possible backup plans Sunday night after hearing their names called in the CFL Draft.

Judge, who was invited to a rookie mini camp with the Houston Texans after going undrafted in the NFL Draft, was taken second overall in the CFL Draft by the Saskatchewan Roughriders. Judge was born in Montreal, but went to high school at Oaks Christian before coming to UCLA, where he played 47 games as a linebacker and special teams stalwart.

“If things don’t work out [in Houston], it’s nice knowing I have somewhere to go,” Judge told CBC News after the draft. “If I don’t make an [NFL] team I’m definitely coming up there to play and prepared to give it everything I got, be fully committed to this team.”

Ankou will also be at Houston’s rookie mini camp after he signed as an undrafted free agent with the team. The Ottawa native was taken with the 26th pick in the third round Sunday by the Ottawa Redblacks, the defending Grey Cup champions.

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