Hundley promises Perkins will be ‘monster’

The UCLA offense’s most-missed departure is busy bumping his NFL stock. Yesterday, Johnathan Franklin finished in 4.49 seconds, ahead of Oregon’s Kenjon Barner and behind only three other tailbacks at the NFL Combine.

Not a bad follow-up to a season that ended with All-American and Doak Walker finalist honors. What will the Bruins do next fall without their all-time career rushing leader?

In Andy Staples’ story, quarterback Brett Hundley weighed in.

Hundley might be a bit biased since he played with redshirt freshman tailback Paul Perkins at Chandler High in suburban Phoenix, but Hundley believes Perkins has the tools to be the next great UCLA back. “He’s under the radar a lot,” Hundley said. “But I promise everybody that he’s going to be a monster.”

Jim Mora has said he expects to replace Franklin by committee — Damien Thigpen, Jordon James and Steve Manfro all touched the ball last year — but did name-drop Perkins as a promising player a few times throughout the season. The 5-foot-11, 192-pound back was named to Arizona’s all-state first team as a senior, and also played some safety at Chandler.

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NFL Combine drills start Saturday

The NFL Combine’s first set of workouts took place Friday, and former UCLA tight end Joseph Fauria participated with 17 bench press reps — tied for 10th at his position.

Saturday is when the real fun begins, as offensive linemen and tight ends do their field work. Running backs, quarterbacks and receivers will also compete in the bench press. Here are the rest of the Bruins in Indianapolis this weekend, with ratings and analysis from their profiles on

DL Datone Jones — 85.6 — “Going forward, Jones needs to do a better job of anchoring, or disengaging once his intial surge is halted. However, his immense physical talent and extremely productive senior season should make him an early selection.”
Pro comparison: Cory Redding Continue reading

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Holiday Bowl: How do UCLA and Baylor match up?

UCLA offense vs. Baylor defense: Although they give up more yards than every team in the country except Louisiana Tech, the Bears aren’t the second-worst defense in the college football. Baylor has won four of its past five games because it suddenly discovered the ability to force turnovers. In that span, the Bears grabbed 11 of their 18 interceptions on the season. (Meanwhile, quarterback Nick Florence threw just two picks.) However, this still doesn’t mean that Baylor is a particularly good defense. Only two teams in the Big 12 give up more yards per play than the Bears, which partly negates the argument that their numbers are bad due to the offenses they face.

Though Brett Hundley has thrown a pick in three of this past four games, he is still just 60 yards away from Cade McNown’s single-season passing record and could crack that by the end of the first quarter. Johnathan Franklin could conceivably get 300 yards to hit 2,000 on the season. (Great stat, courtesy of ESPN: Franklin averages 4 yards after contact on fourth-quarter rushes. He averages just 2.1 per carry in the first three quarters.) Edge: UCLA

Baylor offense vs. UCLA defense: Florence isn’t the superstar Robert Griffin III was Continue reading

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Franklin’s friendship with Hundley

Even a year ago, Johnathan Franklin and Brett Hundley weren’t as close as they are now. Then they became roommates and became more or less inseparable. Franklin said Hundley and redshirt sophomore Librado Barocio — another roommate — will likely be his best men at his wedding.

That sort of relationship is hard to come by, and has certainly helped in a season that have seen both Franklin and Hundley turn into stars.

“It’s great,” Franklin said. “That’s my quarterback. He’s going to give me the ball, so I know that he likes me a little bit. Just being able to keep each other accountable, call each other out on certain things and not be mad about it. …

“I tell them literally every day, I wish I had another year with y’all.”

Said Hundley: “I trust Jet with pretty much anything and everything. Just to have that relationship on and off the field … you’re sort of on the same level.”

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Franklin named FWAA All-American

Johnathan Franklin made the FWAA All-American list today, the last of the NCAA-recognized teams to be announced. Of those five teams (AP, AFCA, Walter Camp, Sporting News are the others), this is Franklin’s first appearance on a first team. He missed out on AFCA and Sporting News lists, and made the AP and Walter Camp second teams.

USC’s Marqise Lee was the only Pac-12 player to make all five first teams. Tellingly, no running backs in the country achieved unanimous All-American status, with Franklin, Kenjon Barner (Oregon), Montee Ball (Wisconsin) and Ka’Deem Carey (Arizona) all swapping in and out of the top spots.

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Fauria left off Phil Steele’s All-Pac-12

Here are the Bruins that made Phil Steele’s All-Pac-12 teams:

1st: RB Johnathan Franklin, OL Xavier Su’a-Filo
2nd: OL Jeff Baca
3rd: WR Shaquelle Evans
1st: LB Anthony Barr
2nd: DT Datone Jones, LB Eric Kendricks
1st: P Jeff Locke
3rd: KR Damien Thigpen, PR Steven Manfro (Huh?!)

The most glaring omission is senior Fauria, who was left off despite being one of eight semifinalists for the John Mackey Award — given to the top tight end in the nation. I get that Fauria isn’t a true blocking tight end anymore, but he was tied for second in the conference with 11 touchdown receptions. Arizona State’s Chris Coyle, who got the third team nod, grabbed just five and only had 11 more yards per game (54.9 to 43.2).

On the bright side for UCLA fans, Franklin made first team with Kenjon Barner, beating out Arizona’s Ka’Deem Carey. This could bode well for Franklin’s chances at the last remaining NCAA-recognized All-American list: the Football Writers Association of America releases its team later this week, and Steele is on the committee.

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Three Bruins earn AP All-American spots

Tailback Johnathan Franklin and linebacker Anthony Barr were both named second-team All-Americans by the Associated Press this morning. Offensive lineman Xavier Su’a-Filo made the third team.

Franklin shared his second-team nod with fellow Doak Walker finalist Kenjon Barner (Oregon), both of whom were beat out by Wisconsin’s Montee Ball (Doak Walker winner) and Arizona’s Ka’Deem Carey (nation’s leading rusher).

The five All-American lists recognized by the NCAA are the AP, American Football Coaches Association, Sporting News, Walter Camp and the Football Writers Association of America (which will be released later this week).

Franklin was also a second-teamer on the Walter Camp list, behind Ball, Barner and Carey. No other Bruin has made an All-American list other than the AP, but no other list went three teams deep.

Other AP first-team selections from the Pac-12: WR Marqise Lee (USC), TE Zach Ertz (Stanford), DT Star Lotulelei (Utah), DT Will Sutton (ASU), CB Jordan Poyer (Oregon State).

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Ball wins Doak Walker over Franklin, Barner

Johnathan Franklin may hold nearly a half-dozen UCLA records, but that wasn’t good enough to earn him the distinction of being the nation’s best running back. Franklin finished second to Wisconsin’s Montee Ball, who also edged out presumptive favorite Kenjon Barner (Oregon).

Here’s a statistical comparison between the three seniors.

Kenjon Barner:
12 games, 248 carries, 1,624 yards (6.5 ypc), 21 TD … 19 receptions, 232 yards, 1 TD
Montee Ball:
13 games, 332 carries, 1,730 yards, (5.2 ypc), 21 TD … 9 receptions, 65 yards, 0 TD
Johnathan Franklin:
13 games, 268 carries, 1,700 yards (6.3 ypc), 13 TD … 32 receptions, 319 yards, 2 TD

Franklin’s lack of touchdowns obviously hurt him, but Continue reading

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