UCLA in the NFL: Jaguars, Vikings into championship rounds

Former UCLA linebackers Myles Jack and Anthony Barr each had interceptions in their respective teams’ divisional playoff victories on Sunday, helping the Jaguars and Vikings to the AFC and NFC championship games, respectively.

Barr had four tackles and one tackle for loss in Minnesota’s thrilling 29-24 win over the Saints while fellow former Bruin Eric Kendricks led the Vikings with 10 tackles.

Former UCLA kicker Kai Forbath made 3 of 4 field goals for the Vikings, including a 53-yarder that but Minnesota up by two with 1:29 to go. Drew Brees led the Saints on a field-goal drive to regain the lead, but Case Keenum‘s 61-yard touchdown pass to Stefon Diggs as time expired pushed the Vikings into next Sunday’s NFC championship game at Philadelphia (3:40 p.m. PT).

Jack had six tackles in Jacksonville’s 45-42 win over Pittsburgh and picked off Ben Roethlisberger in the first quarter after breaking up the pass and securing the catch while tapping his feet in bounds before falling out. The Jaguars face New England in the AFC championship on Jan. 21 at 12:05 p.m PT.

Other former Bruins in action:

  • Jayon Brown had one tackle in Tennessee’s 35-14 loss to the Patriots on Saturday.
  • Takkarist McKinley had two tackles, including one sack, in the Falcons’ 15-10 loss to the Eagles on Saturday.

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Former UCLA linebacker Anthony Barr starting foundation inspired by his mother

Anthony Barr's mother Lori raised the former UCLA linebacker as a single mother whow went to college and held multiple jobs. Anthony is working with his mom to start the Anthony Barr Foundation to support single mothers pursuing higher education. (Photos courtesy Lori Barr and by Thomas R. Cordova // Daily Breeze/Press Telegram)

Anthony Barr’s mother Lori raised the former UCLA linebacker as a single mother whow went to college and held multiple jobs. Anthony is working with his mom to start the Anthony Barr Foundation to support single mothers pursuing higher education. (Photos courtesy Lori Barr and by Thomas R. Cordova // Daily Breeze/Press Telegram)

When former UCLA linebacker and current Minnesota Viking Anthony Barr was born, his mother Lori Barr was a scared 19-year-old college student. She raised him as a single mother, with the help of her parents, while she finished her bachelor’s degree and master’s degrees and worked multiple jobs.

Together, the two are starting a foundation for other single mothers in Lori’s situation. The Anthony Barr Foundation launches next month and will provide scholarships for tuition and child care for single mothers who want to pursue their college educations.

“With the Anthony Barr Foundation, we want single moms to know that they’re not alone,” said Lori, who serves as the vice president of the foundation. “We’re here to help.”

Read more about Anthony and Lori’s story and the foundation here.

For more information about the Anthony Barr Foundation, click here.

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Eric Kendricks becomes latest Bruin to join Minnesota Vikings

Four Bruins in three years. The Minnesota Vikings made that happen on Friday, picking yet another UCLA product by making linebacker Eric Kendricks their 45th overall pick.

The move reunites Kendricks with Anthony Barr, whom the Vikings took with the ninth overall pick in 2014. Both players won the Lott IMPACT Trophy as seniors, and Kendricks — who left UCLA as its all-time leading tackler — also won the Butkus Award.

“I feel like I just got drafted again,” Barr tweeted.

Kendricks had been projected as a potential late first-round selection, and didn’t figure to wait much longer in the second round. Only 12 other players heard their names called out in Chicago before him.

“I love his instincts and recognition skills,” said ESPN analyst Todd McShay. “I also think he’s the best cover linebacker in the entire draft.”

In addition to Barr and Kendricks, Minnesota drafted punter Jeff Locke and offensive lineman Jeff Baca in the fifth and sixth rounds, respectively, of the 2013 NFL draft.

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NFL roundup: Anthony Barr signs for guaranteed $12.7 million over four years

» After being picked ninth overall in the NFL draft, linebacker Anthony Barr officially signed with the Minnesota Vikings on Tuesday, inking a fully guaranteed contract worth $12,743,596 over four years. He will get a signing bonus of $7,588,072, and the team can exercise a fifth-year option.

He and other former UCLA players must return to campus through spring quarter, however, since NFL rules dictate that anyone who hasn’t graduated cannot stay their teams until their school sessions end.

» Houston Texans sideline reporter John Harris said Xavier Su’a-Filo will become the starting left guard by Week 1, and be a “key figure” in the run game for at least the next five to seven years. Continue reading “NFL roundup: Anthony Barr signs for guaranteed $12.7 million over four years” »

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Linebackers Myles Jack, Eric Kendricks make Lott IMPACT Trophy watch list

Can UCLA pull off a repeat?

Linebackers Myles Jack and Eric Kendricks were both named to the 42-man watch list for the Lott IMPACT Trophy — which Anthony Barr won last year. Kendricks, a senior, also made last year’s preseason list.

One of the sport’s major national awards, its stated criteria is “to give equal weight to personal character as well as athletic performance from a defensive college player.”

Jack and Kendricks were two of the Pac-12’s 11 nominees. USC, Stanford and Washington each also placed two names on the list.

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