UCLA spring camp position review: Receivers

UCLA's Mossi Johnson catches a pass during spring football practice on April 2 at Spaulding Field.(Andy Holzman/Staff)

UCLA’s Mossi Johnson catches a pass during spring football practice on April 2 at Spaulding Field.(Andy Holzman/Staff)

UCLA has not produced a 1,000-yard receiver since 2011. Looking at the state of the Bruins’ offense, it’s a good bet that the drought will extend for another season.

Such is the nature of offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone’s scheme. For three years, UCLA has divvied up targets between bevy of receivers, racking up significant total yards without creating a dominant No. 1 wideout. In 2014, Jordan Payton became the first Bruin to record more than 60 catches in the Jim Mora era; that same season, 12 others in the Pac-12 cleared that same threshold.

Payton might crack four-digit yardage as a senior, but the chemistry he built with Brett Hundley might not necessarily carry over when UCLA picks a new starter. (Even last year, Payton’s production tailed off as the season progressed; he didn’t top 58 yards or catch a single touchdown in his last four games.) This is not to say that the receiving corps are in any real trouble. After all, they return all but one member, and add a few others. Continue reading

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VIDEO: Receiver Kenneth Walker talks about his offseason

UCLA receiver Kenneth Walker only had three catches last season, but turned those into 127 yards and two touchdowns. Why didn’t he get more targets? While the 5-foot-10 wideout might be one of the fastest players on the roster, he couldn’t always hold on to the ball.

Walker said that’s been his main focus this offseason — working with a JUGS machine, and training himself to reel in “awkward” passes.

The redshirt junior also commented on the ongoing quarterback competition.

“Jerry (Neuheisel) has a lot of spin,” he said. “He’s more of a put it on the money kind of quarterback. Josh Rosen, he puts it on the money too. He has a hard ball. I just like the competition right now.”

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