UCLA linebacker Aaron Wallace to play in East-West Shrine Game

UCLA linebacker Aaron Wallace as accepted an invitation to play in the East-West Shrine Game on Jan. 23, giving him another chance to showcase his development as a senior.

Wallace had been a career reserve until this season, one in which he turned himself into the Bruins’ most productive pass rusher. He enters Saturday’s Foster Farms Bowl against Nebraska with a team-high seven sacks, a total that also ties him for third in the Pac-12 with Utah’s Kylie Fitts and Washington’s Travis Feeney. All but 1.5 of those sacks have come in the last six games.

On Tuesday, head coach Jim Mora described Wallace as arguably the team’s most improved and underrated player.

“He’s very quietly having a very good season,” Mora said. “You look at him and you go “That’s an NFL linebacker right there.” I think he’s got a future playing football. I really do.”

The 6-foot-3, 240-pound linebacker had originally been slated to play in the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl, which will feature receiver Devin Fuller. UCLA center Jake Brendel is also slated to play in the East-West Shrine Game in St. Petersburg, Fla., though Mora said the senior lineman is an alternate for the Senior Bowl.

UCLA center Jake Brendel accepts invite to East-West Shrine Game

UCLA center Jake Brendel, pictured working out on campus, has accepted an invitation to the East-West Shrine Game. (Scott Varley/Staff)

UCLA center Jake Brendel, right, has accepted an invitation to the East-West Shrine Game. The senior has made 51 career starts for the Bruins. (Scott Varley/Staff)

UCLA center Jake Brendel is the latest Bruin to accept an invite to a college all-star game.

The fourth-year starter is slated to play in the East-West Shrine Game, held at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla., on Jan. 23. Brendel has started a school-record 51 games for UCLA, and was named to the All-Pac-12 second team for the second straight season. He helped stabilize an offensive line that allowed a conference-low 14 sacks.

Brendel was also shortlisted for the William V. Campbell Trophy, given each year to the top scholar-athlete in college football. As one of 12 finalists, he received an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship.

The last Bruin to appear in the East-West Shrine Game was defensive end Cassius Marsh, who was taken in the fourth round of the 2014 NFL Draft by the Seattle Seahawks. Linebacker Jordan Zumwalt — an eventual sixth-round pick — had also accepted an invitation that year, but became a late add to the Senior Bowl.

UCLA senior receiver Devin Fuller accepted an invitation last week to play in the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl.