Priest Willis entered UCLA last year as one of the Bruins’ most highly touted recruits, but didn’t live up to the hype with a nine-tackle season spent mostly on special teams.
“It wasn’t the year I wanted,” the cornerback said. “I wasn’t happy with it, but everyone learns differently. Sometimes, you can’t just be a Myles Jack. Sometimes, people learn much slower. That was the process for me.”
Head coach Jim Mora is hoping to make UCLA’s “Spring Showcase” this Saturday an actual football game, and defensive end Owamagbe Odighizuwa might be itching for a real snap more than anyone other Bruin.
The former five-star recruit missed all of last season following two hip surgeries. He’s shaken most of the rust off through three-plus weeks of spring practices, but a truly competitive setting would help too.
“It would help me a lot,” he said. “It would help me from the standpoint of getting my routine that I’ve always done, and getting into the flow of things with my team. I’m excited for it.”
On Monday night, linebacker Myles Jack was asked again about his potential future at running back — a question he’s fended off time and time again since erupting for seven touchdowns in four games last season.
Though running backs coach Kennedy Polamalu hasn’t given up on recruiting him to offense, Jack said his heart remains set on being a full-time linebacker. That is, unless a certain former UCLA star asks him to do both.
– With the UCLA in injury-prevention mode, Monday night practice was fairly light and almost entirely non-contact. The Bruins ran some seven-on-seven drills, but otherwise, there wasn’t much competitive work to start the week.
Head coach Jim Mora said he wasn’t sure yet whether or not he would keep the team out of pads for the rest of the week. Schools around the country have already held their spring games, and many of them seem to have played full-on competitions rather than the mixed-drill event UCLA held a year ago. Mora said last week that he hopes for more “actual football” on Saturday at the StubHub Center, but much of that will depend on the team’s health.
“You always want to put on a good show for your fans,” Mora said. “People come out that support your program, I think it’s important that you put on a good show for them. Our primary objective has to be the health of our football team, and I think everyone would understand that.” Continue reading
Shortly after Jim Mora called him a potential All-American and future first-round NFL draft pick, rising junior cornerback Fabian Moreau offered a more measured take on his development in UCLA’s defensive backfield.