UCLA center Jake Brendel makes Rimington Trophy watch list

For the second year in a row, UCLA offensive lineman Jake Brendel is on the Rimington Trophy watch list.

The Bruins’ fourth-year starter is one of 63 potential candidates up for the award, which has been given to the top center in college football since 2000. No center from the Pac-12 — or from any school west of the Rocky Mountains — has ever won it.

Brendel, who has started 39 out of 40 possible games, also had a spot on the preseason watch list heading into the 2014 season. The Dallas-area native is one of the most important members of UCLA’s offensive line, which appears to have some stability after being ranked near the bottom of the country in sacks allowed in each of the past three seasons.

In addition to Brendel, who had a strong spring camp, UCLA returns left tackle Conor McDermott, whose introduction to the starting lineup last season dramatically improved the unit’s performance. The rest of the first-string line is still somewhat fluid, but guards Alex Redmond, Scott Quessenberry and Kenny Lacy as well as tackles Simon Goines and Caleb Benenoch all have starting experience.

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UCLA tailback Paul Perkins named to Maxwell Award watch list

UCLA’s Paul Perkins earned a spot this morning on the watch list for the Maxwell Award, a trophy no running back has won in over a decade.

Obviously, this alone does not necessarily predict a tremendous season. There are 80 names populating the preseason watch list, 35 of whom are tailbacks. And as the spread offenses proliferate in college football, passing numbers are rising along with the use of backfield rushing committees.

To figure out the Bruin junior’s chances at the Maxwell, given to the top player in the country since 1937, let’s first look at the last four winners.

Year Name Carries Yards Avg Rush TD Catches Yards Rec. TD
2002 Larry Johnson 271 2087 7.7 20 41 349 3
1999 Ron Dayne 337 2034 6.0 20 1 9 0
1998 Ricky Williams 361 2124 5.9 27 24 262 1
1995 Eddie George 328 1927 5.9 24 47 417 1

Looking at these four seasons, 2,000 yards and 20 touchdowns on the ground seems like the bare minimum — with only George missing out on the yardage mark. All four players also led teams that won at least nine games, and finished top-15 in either the final Coaches’ poll or the AP poll.

In the last few years, however, even those criteria haven’t been enough. Continue reading

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UCLA’s Kenny Clark, Myles Jack make Bednarik Award watch list

UCLA defensive tackle Kenny Clark and linebacker Myles Jack both made the 80-man watch list for the Bednarik Award on Tuesday.

Both Clark and Jack are entering their junior seasons as arguably the most valuable players on the Bruins’ defense, if not the team as a whole. Clark registered 58 tackles last season, including 5.5 for loss, while Jack had 88 tackles to go with seven pass breakups.

No Bruin has ever won the Bednarik Award, which has been given to college football’s top defensive player since 1995. Arizona linebacker Scooby Wright III won it last fall as a sophomore, and is vying to become the third repeat winner after Penn State’s Paul Posluszny (2005-06) and Northwestern’s Pat Fitzgerald (1995-96).

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UCLA’s Ishmael Adams, Myles Jack named to Paul Hornung Award watchlist

Ishmael Adams and Myles Jack are UCLA’s two candidates to be named the most versatile players in college football.

Both Adams and Jack made the 44-man watch list for the Paul Hornung Award, which was announced Monday.

Jack was a finalist for the trophy as a true freshman in 2013, when he made 75 tackles and two interceptions as a linebacker, and rushed for 267 yards and seven touchdowns in four games.

In 2014, Adams took both his interceptions back for touchdowns, and was also a valuable special teams player who had a 100-yard kickoff return.

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Pac-12 links: Marcus Mariota is the last unsigned NFL first-round pick

» Former Oregon quarterback and No. 2 overall NFL draft pick Marcus Mariota has not yet signed his contract with the Tennessee Titans, making him the last first-rounder to hold out. A report suggested that Mariota was upset that the contract barred him from surfing — but, disappointingly, others have debunked that reason.

» Utah cornerback Dominique Hatfield has been charged with aggravated robbery, a first-degree felony. A former receiver, he was expected to start as a junior.

» Colorado defensive tackle Josh Tupou has been ruled out for the Buffaloes this season after being arrested in spring, but school officials aren’t commenting further. Continue reading

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