UCLA linebacker Deon Hollins to return for senior season

UCLA linebacker Deon Hollins (58) will return to the Bruins for his senior season. (Keith Birmingham/Staff)

UCLA linebacker Deon Hollins (58) will return to the Bruins for his senior season. (Keith Birmingham/Staff)

UCLA linebacker Deon Hollins will stay in school for his senior season, becoming the second Bruin to announce such a decision.

Hollins made the All-Pac-12 second team this season, but was not widely regarded as a strong candidate for the NFL draft. After leading UCLA with nine sacks as a sophomore, his numbers dipped as a junior to 2.5 sacks and 18 total tackles.

Opposing teams clearly game-planned more for the talented edge rusher this season, especially after a season-ending injuries knocked out both defensive lineman Eddie Vanderdoes and linebacker Myles Jack in September. The Pac-12 reprimanded Hollins in November for complaining about officials and missed holding calls.

Left tackle Conor McDermott, a redshirt junior, decided earlier this week to delay his professional career. Receiver Thomas Duarte, who caught 10 of Josh Rosen’s 23 touchdown passes, has not announced one way or the other.

UCLA is losing Jack and defensive tackle Kenny Clark — potential first-round picks — as well as running back Paul Perkins and offensive linemen Caleb Benenoch and Alex Redmond.

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Kenny Clark leads UCLA with All-Pac-12 first team selection

UCLA nose tackle Kenny Clark (97) was the Bruins' lone representative on the All-Pac-12 first team. He also caught at touchdown pass in UCLA's season-opening 34-16 win against Virginia. (Keith Birmingham/Staff)

UCLA nose tackle Kenny Clark (97) was the Bruins’ lone representative on the All-Pac-12 first team. He also caught at touchdown pass in UCLA’s season-opening 34-16 win against Virginia. (Keith Birmingham/Staff)

Through most of the season, nose tackle Kenny Clark looked like UCLA’s best player. Pac-12 coaches agreed.

When the All-Pac-12 teams were announced Tuesday, Clark was the Bruins’ sole first-team representative on offense, defense, or special teams. The 6-foot-3, 310-pound junior was second on the team with seven tackles for loss, showed off his development as a pass rusher by notching his first five career sacks.

UCLA placed several more players on the second team. On offense, running back Paul Perkins, center Jake Brendel and left tackle Conor McDermott all earned spots. Linebacker Deon Hollins and defensive backs Randall Goforth and Jaleel Wadood filled in for the defense.

Receiver Jordan Payton, linebacker Aaron Wallace, and cornerback Marcus Rios were honorable mentions.

Perhaps the most eyebrow-raising part of the all-conference selections was Ka’imi Fairbairn settling for being a second-team specialist. The kicker became the Pac-12’s all-time leading scorer this season, hit a school-record 60-yard field goal, and is one of three finalists for the Lou Groza Award. Throw in his respectable 20 of 23 conversion rate on field goals, and he seemed like a shoe-in on the first team.

Instead, Pac-12 coaches voted for Aidan Schneider. The Oregon sophomore was slightly more accurate at 20 of 22, but hadn’t attempted a field goal longer than 41 yards. Fairbairn’s three misses have come from 47, 49 and 50 yards.

See the full All-Pac-12 teams below: Continue reading

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Pac-12 reprimands UCLA’s Deon Hollins for complaints about refs

The Pac-12 has reprimanded UCLA linebacker Deon Hollins for what it described as “derogatory comments” about the conference’s officiating.

Hollins said on Tuesday that referees had missed numerous holding calls during the Bruins’ 31-27 loss to Washington State this past weekend, and joked about possibly sending officials a gift basket.

“It’s really tough sometimes beating the referees and beating the other team,” he said then. “It’s really tough sometimes. We were just looking at it on film. There were so many missed things. I was appalled.”

That was enough to prompt an official response from the conference.

“All of our student-athletes must adhere to the Pac-12’s Standards of Conduct,” Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott said in a statement. “Mr. Hollins remarks were a clear violation of the Pac-12 comprehensive restrictions on public comments on officiating and he is being appropriately reprimanded.”

“There is a great deal of responsibility that comes with being a football student-athlete in the Pac-12 and at UCLA,” Hollins said in a statement. “Unfortunately, yesterday I spoke out of frustration and knew almost immediately afterwards that my comments were inappropriate. I expect more of myself and will not let this happen again.”

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