Pac-12 links: USC’s Josh Shaw (doesn’t) save nephew from drowning

» USC cornerback Josh Shaw sprained his ankles saving his nephew from drowning during a family social on Saturday. Remarkably, Shaw leaped off second-story balcony when he saw the 7-year-old struggling, landing on the concrete before crawling into the pool.

UPDATE: Serious doubts about Shaw’s story have surfaced, and USC is investigating further.

» Anu Solomon officially became Arizona’s starting quarterback, marking the first time since freshmen became eligible in 1972 that the Wildcats will open the season with one behind center.

» A closer look at the running ability of Arizona State quarterback Taylor Kelly, whom Jim Mora called “tough as nails.” Continue reading

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Report: Kylie Fitts could transfer to Fresno State after leaving UCLA

After abruptly deciding to transfer out of UCLA on Monday, defensive end Kylie Fitts could be headed north.

According to the Fresno Bee, Fresno State received a release that will allow them to contact Fitts. The former four-star recruit could also end up at San Diego State or Montana State.

A star at Redlands East Valley, Fitts was one of the state’s top recruits in 2013 and considered a coup for the Bruins after he decommitted from USC. However, he played sparingly as a freshman, making one tackle in six games before undergoing hand surgery in November.

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Defensive end Kylie Fitts transfers out of UCLA

Defensive end Kylie Fitts has decided to transfer out of UCLA, head coach Jim Mora announced Monday.

“It’s his decision,” Mora said. “We wish him the best in wherever he goes and does after this. We’re just going to march on.”

Fitts wasn’t set to start after notching just one tackle in six games as a true freshman, but he most likely would have factored into the team’s two-deep depth chart.

Originally a verbal commitment to USC, he flipped to UCLA in dramatic fashion when the Trojans wouldn’t allow him to enroll early. Continue reading

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Five players to watch during UCLA training camp

UCLA football is officially back.

In the Daily News this past weekend, I covered a few of the questions that UCLA answered in spring and will look to answer starting today.

With training camp kicking off at Cal State San Bernardino at 3 p.m., here are five players to watch out for through the next couple of weeks.

Linebacker Kenny Orjioke, Jr., 6-4, 235

Head coach Jim Mora said the prime objective for UCLA’s defense will be replacing the pass-rushing void left by Cassius Marsh and Anthony Barr. The latter’s most natural successor is Orjioke.

Still just 19 years old, the junior has off-the-charts athleticism but hasn’t quite turned that into on-the-field stardom. That started to change this past spring, when he started blowing past blockers on a more regular basis. He’ll be fun to watch if he keeps it up this fall.

Offensive tackle Simon Goines, Jr., 6-7, 330 Continue reading

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Wednesday practice notes: Evans besting Adams

Cornerback Ishmael Adams was one of UCLA’s week-one stars, but has struggled more recently. Shaq Evans, in particular, seems to have made it his mission to abuse Adams after giving the redshirt freshman an earful of trash talk last week. On Wednesday, Evans’ best play was a tipped pass to himself for a score.

Adams should still be fine, but his lack of size is showing. He has also spent all of spring in a red jersey, but defensive backs coach Demetrice Martin said Adams could play a game now if necessary.

Evans, meanwhile, should figure to be a bigger red-zone target this season. Receivers coach Eric Yarber also said this about the senior: “I need him to be one of the leaders of the team. Even last year, all these young kids looked up to Shaq. If Shaq wasn’t having a good day, it was almost like the whole group wasn’t having a good day.”

» Jordan Payton likely remains ahead of Devin Lucien on the receiver depth chart heading into summer camp. Payton made a nice catch on Wednesday while double-covered by Anthony Jefferson and Dietrich Riley. Riley was consistently beaten in pass coverage, which may or may not be due to injury rust.

» Eldridge Massington is still rehabbing his ACL tear. He had a minor setback last week, but the main obstacle will likely be more mental than physical. Continue reading

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Kylie Fitts talks about adjusting to UCLA campus

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Early enrollee Kylie Fitts talks about adjusting to UCLA’s spring practices, his favorite part about college life, and missing his high school prom. The freshman sprained his ankle last week, but is out of his boot and hopes to be back in full for Thursday’s session.

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Kylie Fitts picks UCLA

As most expected, four-star defensive end Kylie Fitts committed to UCLA Tuesday night, giving the Bruins an early start to what they hope will be an eventful Signing Day on Wednesday. Fitts will enroll for the spring quarter and arrive on campus April 1. He had originally committed to USC before the school told him he couldn’t enroll early.

Will he have more motivation against the Trojans in the future?

“To be honest, probably,” Fitts said. “I respect all the coaches. I think they’re a great school. But something inside me is going to push me a little harder in that game.”

Here’s the video of his press conference from the Riverside Press-Enterprise. He starts talking at the 30-minute mark after a lot of dead time. Continue reading

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Kylie Fitts announcing Tuesday at 7 p.m.

Defensive end Kylie Fitts was originally slated to make his announcement on Signing Day, but it looks like he wants to get the news out a little earlier. Fitts, who decommitted from the Trojans after they wouldn’t let him enroll early, took an unofficial to USC on Sunday after a trip to Utah. Notre Dame is in the picture as well, but eight Rivals.com and two Scout.com analysts unanimously have him going to UCLA.

Here’s a quick profile of the four-star lineman. Continue reading

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Who’s next for UCLA’s recruiting class?

UCLA’s recruiting class is ranked No. 6 in the country by Scout.com and No. 9 by Rivals.com, just the second time since 2002 that the school has landed in the top 10 on both lists. Can the Bruins make a push for the top five? Here’s a quick look at some of the top remaining targets.

QB Asiantii Woulard: 6-3, 205 — Rivals: 4*, Scout: 4* — UCLA was a latecomer to Woulard’s recruitment, but the dual-threat quarterback thoroughly enjoyed his visit to Westwood. He will announce on ESPNU next Wednesday, but all signs point to a cross-country trip for the Florida standout. His father had said that Clemson and UCLA were the frontrunners; the Tigers backed off his recruitment recently, with head coach Dabo Swinney cancelling an in-home visit.

DT Eddie Vanderdoes: 6-3, 310 — Rivals: 5*, Scout: 5* — One of the most highly recruited players in the country, Vanderdoes will announce his decision at 5 p.m. on Signing Day at Placer High. UCLA seems Continue reading

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