Receiver Shaq Evans had the first multi-touchdown game of his career on Saturday, reeling in two against Arizona. His first, a 66-yard bomb from Brett Hundley, came on UCLA’s very first offensive play. Continue reading
In the mood for a round of meaningless-but-encouraging awards? Have some midseason All-Pac-12 team mentions, courtesy of college football guru Phil Steele.
Steele named eight UCLA players to his all-conference squads, with outside linebacker Anthony Barr and left guard Xavier Su’a-Filo leading the way on the first team. The pair also landed on Steele’s midseason All-American team, with Barr earning a first-team nod and Su’a-Filo a second.
Center Jake Brendel and linebacker Eric Kendricks both made the midseason second team. Receiver Shaq Evans and running back Steve Manfro joined the pair there, but earned their spots for contributions at kick and punt return.
Quarterback Brett Hundley ended up on the third team, behind Oregon’s Marcus Mariota and Oregon State’s Sean Mannion. Defensive end Cassius Marsh rounded out the UCLA names on the list.
Shaq Evans may have a short fuse at times, but away from football, he withdraws. My feature in yesterday’s Daily News focused on the difference between his personas, with Bruins receivers coach Eric Yarber describing him as “borderline shy” off the field.
Something that didn’t make it into the story was Evans’ early affinity for basketball, which he gave up once he got to Inglewood High. From a card he wrote when he was 7 years old: “I plan on going to UCLA, and I want to be a professional basketball player. I want to be drafted into the NBA when I’m in my sophomore year of college and I want to be one of the best basketball players ever.”
For anyone that missed it, I talked UCLA football with Craig Elsten tonight on The Mighty 1090 in San Diego. We covered a bit of the Bruins’ Nebraska win, Shaq Evans’ comments, and Brett Hundley’s NFL prospects. You can listen to the full 11 minutes here.
Once in a while, Jim Mora’s one-week-at-a-time philosophy shows its cracks.
In an interview with ESPN 710 on Wednesday, receiver Shaq Evans was asked how it felt to be a part of UCLA’s rise after watching USC dominate while growing up in Inglewood. “I’m loving it,” he said.
“Beating them last year, and knowing we’re going to beat them again this year,” he soon added. “Especially two years ago, when they beat us 50-0, we owe them a little bit. … This year, we’re going to try to embarrass them, honestly.
“It’s so much fun, just seeing them struggling. Like how we used to struggle, now they’re struggling. It’s awesome to see that. I hate them.”
Mora said he did not hear about the comments.
“We’re worried about New Mexico State University right now,” Mora said. “I don’t follow some of that stuff. I didn’t see that. I’m worried about New Mexico State University.”
– The first 30,000 fans at the Rose Bowl this Saturday will receive a blue towel with Nick Pasquale’s No. 36. Following a moment of silence before UCLA’s first home game since the receiver’s death, the team will cheer loudly to celebrate his memory. Mora asked fans to do the same, waving around those towels. Continue reading
SAN BERNARDINO – UCLA’s Monday evening practice ended early when a fight broke out between a few players.
The trouble began near the end of the session at Cal State San Bernardino when defensive end Cassius Marsh began scuffling with an offensive player. Tensions rose between offense and defense, escalating when receiver Shaq Evans ran in from the sideline and began jawing loudly with defensive back Anthony Jefferson.
Head coach Jim Mora halted practice half an hour early and made the entire team run widths of the field for roughly 10 minutes. Continue reading
UCLA lost a 6-foot-7 target in tight end Joseph Fauria, but quarterback Brett Hundley shouldn’t have hard time finding capable pass-catchers. Although the Bruins return only one player who caught for more than 300 yards last season, they have a deep, young group with plenty of upside.
Key returners: Shaq Evans enters his senior season as one of the conference’s better receivers. A stable presence for UCLA both as a route-runner and blocker, he should be in line for more red-zone targets in addition to building on his 800-yard junior campaign.
Opposite Evans will be sophomore Jordan Payton, a thick-bodied target who displayed good hands almost every spring practice. Redshirt sophomore Devin Lucien is more physically gifted than Payton, but isn’t as consistent. Continue reading
UCLA receiver Shaq Evans, who enters his senior season with All-Pac-12 first team potential, made the 75-man watch list for the Biletnikoff Award. The 6-foot-1 wideout is the clear leader of a deep, young receiving corps, and should improve his 2012 totals of 877 yards and three touchdowns.
Actually winning the Biletnikoff will be tough, given that USC’s Marqise Lee returns this season with a very good shot at taking the trophy for the second year in a row. Lee was the conference’s Offensive Player of the Year as a sophomore, as well as a unanimous All-American.
Lee would be the second straight receiver to win consecutive Biletnikoff Awards, following Oklahoma State wideout Justin Blackmon’s wins in 2010 and 2011. Texas Tech’s Michael Crabtree is the only other back-to-back winner (2007-08).
This year’s watch list also included five other Pac-12 receivers: USC’s Nelson Agholor, Oregon State’s Brandin Cooks, Cal’s Chris Harper, Oregon’s Josh Huff and Colorado’s Paul Richardson.