UCLA’s Anthony Jefferson joins Senior Bowl, Eric Kendricks out

UCLA defensive back Anthony Jefferson stands over Oregon receiver Keanon Lowe after making a tackle at the Rose Bowl during the Bruins' 42-30 loss on Oct. 11, 2014. (Keith Birmingham/Staff)

UCLA defensive back Anthony Jefferson stands over Oregon receiver Keanon Lowe after making a tackle at the Rose Bowl during the Bruins’ 42-30 loss on Oct. 11, 2014.
(Keith Birmingham/Staff)

Quarterback Brett Hundley declined an invitation to the Senior Bowl, but another UCLA player became a late add to the all-star roster: defensive back Anthony Jefferson.

Spending time at both corner and safety, Jefferson made 72 tackles and eight pass breakups this season, ranking third and first for the Bruins, respectively. The 6-foot-1, 192-pound defensive back was one of six UCLA players to make the All-Pac-12 second-team defense.

UCLA’s only other Senior Bowl participant will be defensive end Owamagbe Odighizuwa. Continue reading

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Anthony Jefferson, Malcolm Bunche to play in NFLPA Bowl

UCLA defensive back Anthony Jefferson and offensive lineman Malcolm Bunche have agreed to play in the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl, one of the many postseason all-star events for draft-eligible players.

The game will be played on Jan. 17 at 1 p.m., and be broadcast on ESPN.

Jefferson was the most experienced and versatile member of the Bruins’ secondary, capable of playing both cornerback and safety. He finished third on the team with 72 tackles, and also had an interception and eight pass breakups. Bunche, a graduate transfer from Miami, began the season as UCLA’s starting left tackle — but was later shifted to left guard and eventually benched entirely. He did not travel with the Bruins to the Alamo Bowl due to academics.

Former UCLA defensive linemen Keenan Graham and Seali’i Epenesa played in last year’s NFLPA Bowl, but neither was drafted.

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UCLA’s Anthony Jefferson likely won’t apply for sixth year

Anthony Jefferson missed all but three games in his first two seasons at UCLA due to foot and back injuries. But asked if he would consider applying for a sixth year of eligibility, the defensive back laughed.

The 6-foot-1, 192-pound senior has become one of the most dependable Bruins in the secondary over the last couple of seasons, moving between safety, cornerback and nickelback depending on what his team needed. He was awarded with an All-Pac-12 honorable mention in 2013, followed by a second-team pick this month.

Jefferson said he’s on track to graduate at the end of this quarter, but hasn’t thought much about the Alamo Bowl on Jan. 2 being the final game of his collegiate career.

“I don’t think it’s hit me yet,” he said. “Maybe when I get out there in San Antonio, but at this point, I don’t know. Not yet.”

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UCLA still hoping for spot in College Football Playoff

Right before the college football season, UCLA looked like one of the better choices for the betting man.

Popularly thought of as a dark-horse national title contender, the Bruins drew 14-to-1 odds to win the championship — sixth-best in the country. Fast forward six weeks, and the team has fallen to 25-to-1 according to online sportsbook Bovada.lv, good for a 13th-place tie with TCU.

A 30-28 loss to a then-unranked Utah last week exposed a UCLA squad that had looked flawed for most of the season. Naturally, that isn’t deterring the now 18th-ranked Bruins’ own hopes about earning a spot in the inaugural four-team College Football Playoff.

“Absolutely,” said UCLA defensive back Anthony Jefferson. “If we just do our job every week, and compete, play our butts off, I think we’ll have a great opportunity to make the playoffs.” Continue reading

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UCLA safety Randall Goforth’s shoulder injury could linger

Safety Randall Goforth practices during UCLA's training camp at Cal State San Bernardino on Aug. 11, 2014. (Micah Escamilla/San Bernardino Sun)

Safety Randall Goforth practices during UCLA’s training camp at Cal State San Bernardino on Aug. 11, 2014. (Micah Escamilla/San Bernardino Sun)

Safety Randall Goforth’s shoulder injury could keep him out for more than just one game.

An All-Pac-12 honorable mention, Goforth separated his right shoulder during UCLA’s win against Memphis more than a week ago, and missed the Bruins’ 20-17 victory over Texas on Saturday. Head coach Jim Mora said the team will decide how to handle the junior’s injury within the next few days — whether that means having him wear a brace, rehab, rest, or undergo surgery.

Goforth, who had started 20 games before his injury, also hurt his left shoulder during UCLA’s training camp.

“We want to make the right decision for his long-term health and the good of the team,” Mora said. Continue reading

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UCLA post-spring position outlook: Secondary

Spring football is done, and over three months still stand between us and the start of UCLA’s third season under Jim Mora — one that comes with national title aspirations and accompanying media glare. This blog will cover the status of each position group moving forward. Next up …

Secondary

UCLA is very familiar with offense-to-defense success. With the last project off to the NFL as a top-ten pick, can the Bruins duplicate that sort of transformation?

Heading into the 2014 season, the best bet on the roster is Fabian Moreau — a former three-star running back who converted to cornerback as soon as he arrived in Los Angeles two years ago. The 6-foot-2, 200-pound soon-to-be junior earned an all-conference honorable mention in just his second year at the position — one in which he started 12 games. Continue reading

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VIDEO: Safety Anthony Jefferson prepares for his final season


Safety Anthony Jefferson talked about this year’s UCLA secondary, as well as his status as the group’s elder statesman.

“I’m an old guy now, man,” he said. “It’s my last year. My job is to make sure these guys are all up to speed, making sure their heads are were it needs to be.”

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VIDEO: Safety Anthony Jefferson talks UW offense


UCLA safety Anthony Jefferson talked a bit about Washington’s offense after practice this week.

“They like to stretch the ball vertically, down the field,” he said. “That’s one thing we always have to protect, the deep ball. But they major in it.”

Washington quarterback Keith Price has 41 passing plays of at least 20 yards this season, tied for third in the Pac-12 with Oregon’s Marcus Mariota.

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Injury report: Left tackle Simon Goines to return in reserve role

Left tackle Simon Goines will be available against Arizona in a reserve role this Saturday, UCLA coach Jim Mora said. The sophomore injured his right MCL, and was still limping noticeably as he entered practice without pads Tuesday.

Starting running back Jordon James is also expected to play, practicing in full pads. The junior had missed three full games, and took six carries last Saturday before reaggravating his ankle injury. Continue reading

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