UCLA post-spring position outlook: Running backs

Spring football is done, and over three months still stand between us and the start of UCLA’s third season under Jim Mora — one that comes with national title aspirations and accompanying media glare. Over the next week, this blog will cover each of the Bruins’ position groups. Next up …

Running backs

Last season was the first since 2009 that every UCLA running back finished with fewer than 600 yards. That year, the Bruins finished 7-6 overall and eighth in the Pac-10.

The situations aren’t all that similar, of course. Quarterback Brett Hundley and linebacker Myles Jack both helped buoy the running game through the final five games, combining for 584 of the team’s 1,007 yards and 12 of its 16 touchdowns. The Bruins have options on the ground, even disregarding its stable of running backs.

But those backs. Assuming injuries won’t concentrate on this unit as much as it did in 2013, there are enough bodies for at least a three- or four-man rotation through fall. Continue reading

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Four-star running back Nathan Starks commits to Bruins

UCLA’s backfield got a little deeper Saturday night, with four-star tailback Nathan Starks giving a verbal commitment to the Bruins.

The 5-foot-11, 200-pound back is rated No. 17 at his position by Rivals.com. If his destination holds until National Signing Day next month, the U.S. Army All-American will be the Bruins’ second running back recruit since Jim Mora arrived. Position coach Steve Broussard was let go late last year and replaced with former USC assistant Kennedy Polamalu.

The Bruins only return three full-time tailbacks with game experience: junior Jordon James, redshirt freshman Paul Perkins and sophomore Steve Manfro. Linebacker Myles Jack also rushed for seven touchdowns and 267 yards in his last five games. Freshman Craig Lee, a four-star signee in 2013, redshirted.

Starks transferred from Las Vegas Bishop Gorman after a violation of team rules, and played this past season at Colorado’s Cherry Creek High.

Five-star tailback Joe Mixon picked Oklahoma earlier today over UCLA, Cal and Wisconsin, though he could certainly change his mind again before faxing in his letter of intent on Feb. 5.

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