UCLA spring camp notes: Nate Starks looks like No. 2 tailback

— One of UCLA’s biggest questions in the past two offseasons surrounded the running back position, which lost all-time leading rusher Johnathan Franklin after 2012.

Paul Perkins answered that in a big way as a redshirt sophomore, becoming the Pac-12’s leading rusher with 1,575 yards (121.15 per game). His presence, as well as that of an entirely intact offensive line, will certainly make it easier for whichever quarterback ends up replacing Brett Hundley this upcoming season.

But who’s looming behind him? After UCLA’s first spring practice in pads, Nate Starks looks like the clear-cut No. 2 running back. As a true freshman in 2014, the Colorado native was fourth on the team with 141 yards — behind Perkins, Hundley and senior Jordon James. He’s picked up where he left off and appears to be the team’s second-best runner now.

While head coach Jim Mora agreed that Starks currently has the inside track on the backup role, he insisted there is still “great competition there.” One player he said has “flashed” through three practices is Craig Lee, a speedy four-star recruit in 2013 who has yet to play a down for the Bruins. Continue reading “UCLA spring camp notes: Nate Starks looks like No. 2 tailback” »

UCLA spring camp notes: Josh Rosen gets more reps at QB

— UCLA head coach Jim Mora said earlier this week that each practice will focus on two quarterbacks at a time. Thursday’s session had Mike Fafaul working with the first-string offense, and Josh Rosen working with the second-string — which meant an offensive line that is currently using two walk-ons due to injuries.

Rosen had his share of freshman moments in his first extended bit of action, throwing an interception that linebacker Willie Green returned for a touchdown. His footwork looked good and he still clearly has the highest ceiling of all the quarterbacks, but there will be some growing pains along the way. Continue reading “UCLA spring camp notes: Josh Rosen gets more reps at QB” »

UCLA’s Spring Game scheduled for April 25

For those trying to mark their calendars, UCLA’s Spring Game has been set for Saturday, April 25. The time and location have not been announced, and the rest of the Bruins’ spring camp schedule is also not yet released.

Quarterback Josh Rosen will obviously be the main attraction, and is set to compete for the starting spot after enrolling in January along with JUCO transfer offensive tackle Zach Bateman. Of the 2015 recruits that just signed their letters of intent this week, linebacker Joshua Woods and defensive backs Nathan Meadors and Will Lockett are expected to enroll early.

Head coach Jim Mora also said Wednesday that one player he can’t name could potentially participate in spring practices — likely referring to still-undecided four-star linebacker Roquan Smith.

Three-star safety Nathan Meadors commits to UCLA

UCLA has picked up its last commitment of the 2015 class*, as three-star safety Nathan Meadors announced he would become a Bruin.

Meadors played mostly quarterback for San Bernardino San Gorgonio as a senior, but projects as a defensive back at the next level. He added during his announcement on Fox Sports Prime Ticket that he could see playing time on offense as well.

He picked the Bruins over Notre Dame, although Cal and Boise State were also among the finalists.

*Pending what happens with Jeff Ulbrich and four-star linebacker Roquan Smith.