Three redshirt juniors to graduate and leave UCLA


– Three redshirt juniors will be honored with UCLA seniors at halftime against Arizona State this Saturday: fullback Luke Gane, offensive/defensive lineman Brandon Willis and linebacker Aramide Olaniyan. The trio will graduate and leave the team after this season.

“We’ll miss them,” coach Jim Mora said. “They’ve been great contributors and great guys.”

– Mora said safety Tahaan Goodman has improved over the past few weeks. Continue reading

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Notes: Ellis McCarthy injured, Brandon Willis playing OL


– Ellis McCarthy missed both Monday and Tuesday’s practices with a head injury. Mora said the starting left end is improving, but not yet asymptomatic. If he isn’t cleared by Saturday’s game, freshman Kylie Fitts will see increased snaps.

Running back Jordon James (ankle) is still doubtful to play against Cal. Considering how capable Paul Perkins is as well as the depth the Bruins have at tailback, I’d be very surprised if James gets any carries.

– Buried on the depth chart, junior defensive lineman Brandon Willis asked coaches for a chance to play on the other side of the trenches. He started taking some snaps at guard today, and could be used there in late-game situations or in an emergency.

“It was his idea to go over there and give it a shot,” Mora said. “He could be a two-way player for us. … He’s our Ironman.”

“The kid wants to help the team. Because really, who wants to be an offensive lineman?,” Mora joked. Continue reading

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Owamagbe Odighizuwa out for 2013 season

The defensive line, one of UCLA football’s most battered units this spring, just suffered its biggest loss. Defensive end Owamagbe Odighizuwa will likely miss the 2013 season after undergoing his second offseason hip surgery.

The Los Angeles Times first reported the news Tuesday that Odighizuwa had the operation for a frayed rotator cuff in his right hip. Once the five-star gem of the Bruins’ 2010 recruiting class, he had sat out all of spring practice while recovering from surgery on his left hip.

Coach Jim Mora said last Monday that Odighizuwa was healing well, but needed to get his right hip checked. The 6-foot-3, 265-pound end was a likely successor for Datone Jones, who recently became UCLA’s first first-round draft pick since 2006. Odighizuwa finished with 44 tackles, 3.5 sacks and two fumble recoveries last season, and will have one year of eligibility left after if he redshirts this fall. He totaled 32 tackles through his freshman and sophomore years. Continue reading

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