Caleb Benenoch goes to Tampa Bay

Former UCLA offensive lineman Caleb Benenoch. Photo by Michael Owen Baker

Former UCLA offensive lineman Caleb Benenoch. Photo by Michael Owen Baker

Offensive tackle Caleb Benenoch went to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with the ninth pick in the fifth round Saturday. The junior ended his UCLA career with 35 consecutive starts. He started every game of the 2014 and 2015 seasons.

In advance of the draft, UCLA offensive line coach Adrian Klemm said he was hearing reports that Benenoch could go as high as the second round, but most projections had the 6-foot-5, 311-pound tackle going in or after the third round.

Benenoch is the first UCLA offensive tackle taken in the NFL Draft since 1999 when Kris Farris went to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the third round (74th pick overall).

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Preview: UCLA in the NFL Draft

Photos by Keith Birmingham (Pasadena Star-News) and SCNG file

Myles Jack (top left), Caleb Benenoch (top right), Kenny Clark (bottom left) and Jordan Payton (bottom right) are some of UCLA’s NFL Draft prospects this year. Photos by Keith Birmingham (Pasadena Star-News) and SCNG file

 

Some links in advance of the NFL Draft, which starts Thursday at 5 p.m.:

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UCLA sends nine players to 2016 NFL Scouting Combine

Linebacker Myles Jack (30) is one of nine former UCLA players who will participate in the 2016 NFL Scouting Combine in late February. (Keith Birmingham/Staff)

Linebacker Myles Jack (30) is one of nine former UCLA players who will participate in the 2016 NFL Scouting Combine in late February. (Keith Birmingham/Staff)

Nine former UCLA football players will participate in the NFL Scouting Combine later this month, by far the largest total of Jim Mora’s four-year tenure.

Linebacker Myles Jack, a likely first-round draft pick, leads a group that also includes: defensive tackle Kenny Clark; kicker Ka’imi Fairbairn; running back Paul Perkins; receivers Jordan Payton and Thomas Duarte; and offensive linemen Jake Brendel, Caleb Benenoch and Alex Redmond. Ohio State and Notre Dame are the only college teams with more players set to appear at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, with 14 and 10, respectively.

Defending national champion Alabama will also send nine players to the Feb. 23-29 event.

UCLA had five participants in each of the last two NFL combines, and six in 2013. Only one Bruin, tight end Cory Harkey, was invited to the 2012 combine.

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UCLA offensive lineman Caleb Benenoch enters NFL draft

UCLA offensive lineman Caleb Benenoch (74) is the third Bruin to declare for the NFL draft in less thank a week. (Scott Varley/Staff)

UCLA offensive lineman Caleb Benenoch (74) is the third Bruin to declare for the NFL draft in less thank a week. (Scott Varley/Staff)

UCLA offensive lineman Caleb Benenoch has joined the exodus to the 2016 NFL draft, becoming the third Bruin to declare this week.

The three-year starter, who has played both guard and tackle, announced his decision to go pro on Thursday morning — joining nose tackle Kenny Clark and running back Paul Perkins in leaving the team this week. Benenoch likely projects as a late-round pick, but has physical upside at 6-foot-5, 305 pounds.

“I am excited to pursue my dream and I will never forget the memories I shared with my teammates and friends at UCLA,” Benenoch wrote on Twitter. “The bonds that I formed with my brothers will last a lifetime.”

Part of a lauded 2013 recruiting class, the Katy, Texas moved into the first-string lineup midway through his true freshman season. He leaves UCLA with 35 starts under his belt, playing mostly at right tackle. Continue reading

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VIDEO: Caleb Benenoch says UCLA OL still fights for respect

UCLA right tackle Caleb Benenoch talked about what the Bruins need to do against Stanford on Thursday, as well as the offensive line’s mindset five games into the season.

“We bear the brunt of the blame for a lot of things,” the junior said. “(Even) before I got here, the offensive line has kind of been the whipping boy. We have a chip on our shoulder, still. … We have to fight to earn the respect that we want, every single week. From the beginning of the season to now, nothing’s changed.”

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