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

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UCLA’s Cassius Marsh, Shaq Evans picked in fourth round of NFL draft

In the span of eight picks Saturday morning, UCLA doubled its 2014 NFL draft production.

Defensive end Cassius Marsh and receiver Shaq Evans both went in the fourth round, going 108th overall to the Seattle Seahawks and 115th overall to the New York Jets. They were the third and fourth Bruins picked this year, after linebacker Anthony Barr (ninth) and offensive guard Xavier Su’a-Filo (33rd).

Despite racking up 10.5 tackles for loss last season, Marsh is a bit of a tweener at 6-foot-4, 252 pounds — perhaps too small for defensive end and too slow for linebacker at the next level. Still, he is a versatile player who also worked out for teams as a tight end.

Evans led the team with 709 yards and nine touchdowns on 47 catches. He won’t beat anyone flat out with his speed (4.51-second 40-yard dash), but has good enough hands and size at 6-foot-1 to develop into a useful target.

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Jordan Zumwalt earns UCLA’s third Senior Bowl invite

Jordan Zumwalt has earned himself a spot in the Senior Bowl. A standout performance in UCLA’s 42-12 Sun Bowl win over Virginia Tech likely helped his case for a late invite: the inside linebacker had 10 tackles and an interception, as well as a big hit that ended quarterback Logan Thomas’ college career.

He joins receiver Shaq Evans and All-American linebacker Anthony Barr to become the Bruins’ third Senior Bowl invitee.

Defensive end Cassius Marsh will play the East-West Shrine Bowl on Jan. 18.

Both games will be broadcast on NFL Network.

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ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay evaluates Bruins

The notebook that ran in today’s edition of the Daily News covers some of Cassius Marsh’s value as an NFL prospect, whether it be at defensive end, linebacker or even tight end. ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay gave the UCLA senior a fourth- or fifth-round draft grade. Here’s what he said about some other Bruins:

Linebacker Anthony Barr

“He’s not as talented as (South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon) Clowney. He’s not as big, and he’s probably just a notch below in terms of the explosive athleticism. But I think Barr is still a very, very talented player who’s only played the defensive side for two years. Who continues to get better and better in terms of his play, how he’s using his hands, how he’s getting off blocks. I think when it’s all said and done, he’s going to wind up being a top-five pick. Continue reading

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Notes and quotes: UW can’t stop The Myles Jack Show

The stories in today’s issue of the Los Angeles Daily News:

» My game story, on a dire running back situation paving the way for Myles Jack’s four-touchdown night, the most on the ground for UCLA since Maurice Jones-Drew.
» More on Myles Jack, from columnist Vinny Bonsignore.
» Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott said weeknight games are part of the price of generating national exposure for the conference.

More game notes from UCLA’s 41-31 win over Washington, their eighth straight over the Huskies at the Rose Bowl.

– Your latest dose of Myles Jack hype, this time courtesy of Cassius Marsh and Devin Lucien:

Continue reading

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UCLA 41, Washington 31: Defensive end Cassius Marsh


Defensive end Cassius Marsh had his second career touchdown catch, a two-yard grab that gave UCLA a 14-0 lead in the first quarter. Brett Hundley found him after faking a handoff to linebacker Myles Jack.

Marsh also relishes his main role in the reverse-wishbone package, which utilizes him as a blocker for Jack.

“I like to block,” he said. “I don’t know why. I think it’s because I’m always on the other side of it. It’s fun to be able to attack the defense. I know it so well. I know where they’re going.”

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Phil Steele names eight Bruins midseason All-Pac-12

In the mood for a round of meaningless-but-encouraging awards? Have some midseason All-Pac-12 team mentions, courtesy of college football guru Phil Steele.

Steele named eight UCLA players to his all-conference squads, with outside linebacker Anthony Barr and left guard Xavier Su’a-Filo leading the way on the first team. The pair also landed on Steele’s midseason All-American team, with Barr earning a first-team nod and Su’a-Filo a second.

Center Jake Brendel and linebacker Eric Kendricks both made the midseason second team. Receiver Shaq Evans and running back Steve Manfro joined the pair there, but earned their spots for contributions at kick and punt return.

Quarterback Brett Hundley ended up on the third team, behind Oregon’s Marcus Mariota and Oregon State’s Sean Mannion. Defensive end Cassius Marsh rounded out the UCLA names on the list.

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Cassius Marsh sorry for losing temper, drawing ejection

Defensive end Cassius Marsh apologized Wednesday for swinging at a Cal player this past weekend and getting himself ejected at the Rose Bowl.

The senior committed back-to-back offsides penalties in the second quarter, then reacted when the Bears’ lineman swung at him. UCLA won 37-10, but his three penalties helped set up the Bears’ lone touchdown. Though he was clearly baited, Marsh downplayed that as a mitigating factor.

“It was my fault,” he said. “It was my mistake for reacting. There’s no excuse for my actions. I let down my team, I affected my team, I hurt my team. That’s never OK. I felt horrible about it. It’s a hard thing for me. I’m sure you guys know, it’s been something I’ve been working on my whole career. I will continue to do so. Continue reading

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Jim Mora not emphasizing ‘payback’ against Stanford


– Many Bruins still have last year’s back-to-back Stanford games fresh in their minds: UCLA’s 35-17 loss at home followed by a 27-24 heartbreaker in the Pac-12 Championship. Head coach Jim Mora is trying to make sure it doesn’t become their primary focus this weekend.

“I hope that — I think somewhere deep down in their psyche is payback, payback, payback,” he said. “But if you make that your main motivation, I think you make a mistake. You have to focus on this game, this year, and what it’s going to take to win this game, this year.”

His role as a coach will be to talk to the team the right way in order to instill calm heading into the weekend.

“You don’t necessarily whip them into a frenzy on a Tuesday,” Mora said. “You let it slowly build so you create the right mindset going into a game.”

– Defensive end Ellis McCarthy is expected to play at Stanford after sitting out last Saturday with a head injury. Continue reading

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