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’ SI.com 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 NFL.com.

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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