UCLA latest commitment is Owa Odighizuwa’s younger brother

UCLA’s roster will be without an Odighizuwa for just one season.

After tying for the team lead with 11.5 tackles for loss last fall, defensive end Owamagbe Odighizuwa was picked in the third round of the NFL draft last Friday. His younger brother, Osawaru, will soon try to replace the void at UCLA.

Osa Odighizuwa committed to the Bruins on Tuesday night, becoming the eighth name in their 2016 class and the second defensive lineman after five-star end Breland Brandt. Listed at 6-foot-2, 250 pounds, the younger Odighizuwa is rated a three-star defensive end by Rivals.com, and one of the top five defensive tackles in the West by Scout.com.

He is also an accomplished wrestler who has won state and national titles, recently completing his second straight undefeated season in Oregon’s Class 6A heavyweight.

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UCLA spring camp position review: Offensive line

UCLA's offensive line during spring football practice at Spaulding Field on April 23, 2015. (Andy Holzman/Staff)

UCLA’s offensive line during spring football practice at Spaulding Field on April 23, 2015. (Andy Holzman/Staff)

The improvement of UCLA’s offensive line has been a recurring storyline for more than a year, so you’re allowed some skepticism as you read this: Despite allowing 128 sacks over the last three seasons, this could be one of the team’s strengths.

As usual, the caveat is that the line will need to stay healthy. But unlike the last few years, the unit has the sort of depth that can sustain a certain amount of attrition. Two starters are crucial: left tackle Conor McDermott, and center Jake Brendel. The former has had shoulder problems in the past, but was a game-changing left tackle through the second half of last season. He looked healthy and capable all of spring. Brendel is still the only full-time center UCLA has had in the Jim Mora era, and the one game he missed wasn’t pretty.

Injuries to either one could throw the line completely out of whack. But the other spots? Losing someone for a few games wouldn’t be a death sentence. Continue reading

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Brett Hundley calls fifth-round selection a ‘blessing in disguise’

Brett Hundley fell to the fifth round of the 2015 NFL draft. The UCLA quarterback is pictured here during the Bruins' 38-20 win over USC on Nov. 22, 2014 at the Rose Bowl. (Hans Gutknecht/Staff)

Brett Hundley fell to the fifth round of the 2015 NFL draft. The UCLA quarterback is pictured here during the Bruins’ 38-20 win over USC on Nov. 22, 2014 at the Rose Bowl. (Hans Gutknecht/Staff)

Brett Hundley fell all the way to the fifth round of the 2015 NFL Draft on Saturday, but ended up in a good developmental situation in Green Bay. The UCLA quarterback talked about joining the Packers on a teleconference with local reporters.

How do you feel about coming to Green Bay and sitting behind Aaron Rodgers?

It’s awesome. It’s awesome. It’s a funny thing. Johnathan Franklin, a big brother of mine, I used to ask him about Aaron Rodgers a lot. Just how he is in practice, how he is in the meeting rooms. Now I actually get a chance to be up and personal with it. it’s an awesome experience. Datone (Jones) is there as well. I’m ready to have some fun.

Are you disappointed you’re not in a place where you can start immediately

Yeah. I’m blessed to be in this position and to get picked by Green Bay. Obviously, you always have expectations of going No. 1 or going high in the draft. But you know, everything happens for a reason, and that’s how I look at it. If I’m supposed to be here, this is where I’m supposed to be, and I’m going to make the most of it.

How much pre-draft contact did you have with the Packers?

I talked to them at the combine and that’s about it.

Packers director of pro personnel Eliot Wolf said you made an impression at combine, calling you a football nerd. Is that accurate?

Yeah, very much so. I love football. It’s just who I am and what’s bred inside of me. I love being a quarterback. I love knowing everything about the game. I could sit here all day with you and just watch film and learn. I like knowledge, to put it like that. If I don’t know something, I want to know it. That’s the way I approach things. That’s the way I approach football. I think Green Bay is the perfect organization to learn as much as possible. And they have the best coaches to help me do that, and Aaron Rodgers. Continue reading

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Brett Hundley’s wait ends in fifth round of NFL draft

“I can tell you unequivocally that Brett Hundley is a first-round draft pick. The guy’s a future star in the NFL.”

That was what Jim Mora said less than a year ago, when he and his quarterback sat in Paramount Studios in Hollywood and talked about UCLA’s bright future. For the Bruins, Hundley did just fine, leading them to a an Alamo Bowl win and a top-10 national finish.

Along the way, however, his draft stock collapsed. The 6-foot-3, 228-pound Hundley waited until the third day of the NFL draft, going to the Green Bay Packers in the fifth round as the No. 147 overall selection in 2015. Continue reading

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Owamagbe Odighizuwa drafted by New York Giants in third round

He waited longer than expected, but Owamagbe Odighizuwa became the second UCLA player taken in the 2015 NFL draft.

The New York Giants drafted the Bruins’ defensive end in the third round, making him the 74th overall selection this year. Twenty-nine picks earlier, college teammate Eric Kendricks went to the Minnesota Vikings in the second round.

The 6-foot-3, 267-pound Odighizuwa was one of the standouts at the NFL Combine in February, but the hip surgeries that sidelined him for the 2013 season gave some teams pause. Still, he said after UCLA’s Pro Day last month that he was expecting to be taken in the late first or early second round.

“The Giants are trying to get guys that can play inside and outside,” said ESPN analyst Todd McShay. “I think that’s exactly what they get in Odighizuwa.

“He’s a left defensive end fit, but he can reduce on passing downs and rush the quarterback from inside, that three technique. He’s got great length, he runs very fast in a straight line, and has long arms — a lot of pass breakups throughout his career.”

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