UCLA football introduces new ‘L.A. Steel’ gray alternate uniforms

Here is UCLA football’s latest alternate look: a gray, sort-of-shiny jersey called “L.A. Steel.”

Introducing new uniforms has become a bit of an annual event for the Bruins, who unveiled “L.A. Midnight” last year and “L.A. Nights” the year before that.

UCLA’s press release called the latest iteration the first gray uniform in school history. The gloves come together to form a “UCLA” script also featured on the pants, and a print of the Los Angeles skyline appears along the compression sleeves. Its Shockweb compression technology also supposedly “clings tightly to the body, making players more difficult to tackle.” Continue reading

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The preseason Pac-12 media poll …

UCLA football single-game tickets went on sale today, which makes it just as good as any to fill out the annual Pac-12 Media Poll.

Here it goes …

North Division

1. Oregon — Mark Helfrich hasn’t proven that he can keep the Ducks in perennial title contention, but the return of star quarterback Marcus Mariota

2. Stanford — The Cardinal never seem to drop off, but losing three All-Pac-12 offensive lineman — including consensus All-American David Yankey — and four all-conference first-team defenders might be enough to knock them down a bit.

3. Washington — An eight-year run at Boise State ended with an eight-win season, the only time Chris Petersen failed to notch double-digit wins as a head coach. Matching that total in the tougher Pac-12 would be a decent debut for him. Continue reading

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Center Fred Ulu-Perry becomes third offensive lineman in UCLA’s 2015 class

UCLA landed its third commitment of the week in center Fred Ulu-Perry, just the latest prospect to join the Bruins’ offensive line.

Ulu-Perry, who can also play guard, is rated three stars by Rivals.com — which first reported the commitment Friday — and four stars by Scout.com.

The 6-foot-2, 310-pound Honolulu St. Louis product was among those who participated at Nike’s The Opening in Eugene, and his announcement was preceded by fellow campers Andre James — a four-star tackle — and athlete Stephen Johnson also verbally pledging to UCLA this week.

Four-star lineman Tevita Halalilo also committed to the Bruins in April.

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Four-star offensive tackle Andre James commits to UCLA

UCLA has added yet another piece to its young and promising offensive line, one that started three true freshman for through half of its 10-win 2013 season.

On Thursday, four-star tackle Andre James committed to the Bruins during a ESPNU broadcast from Nike’s The Opening in Eugene. The 6-foot-5, 275-pound lineman from Herriman is ranked by Rivals.com as the third-best prospect in Utah and the 28th-best at his position nationwide. Scout.com ranks him as the country’s No. 13 tackle.

Picking UCLA over Ohio State, Oklahoma and USC, he touted his athleticism as his strength, telling The Oregonian, “Punch is always important and technique is always very important. But if you can move well, you can be coached well.” Continue reading

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Three-star athlete Stephen Johnson commits to UCLA

UCLA has added a speedster to its 2015 class.

Three-star athlete Stephen Johnson committed to the Bruins on Tuesday afternoon during a ESPNU broadcast from The Opening, picking them over Oregon and other several other Pac-12 programs. The San Leandro (Calif.) High product had clocked a 4.37-second 40-yard dash earlier that morning.

Rivals.com ranks him the 33rd-best athlete in the country — as well as the 45th-best prospect in the state — while Scout.com ranks him as the 30th-best cornerback.

Johnson is the eighth verbal commitment in UCLA’s next signing class.

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Myles Jack leads Bruins on early national awards watch lists

Less than two months stand between now and the start of college football, and the rush of preseason watch lists is starting up.

Unsurprisingly, Myles Jack pops up more than once.

UCLA’s do-it-all linebacker and part-time running back landed on watch lists for both the Paul Horning and Bednarik Awards. Jack was one of five finalists for the former last season, given to the most versatile player in the country.

He is joined on the Bednarik watch list for top defensive player by fellow Bruin linebacker Eric Kendricks.

Quarterback Brett Hundley, whom UCLA is marketing as a Heisman candidate, is on the watch list for the Maxwell Award for player of the year.

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Jim Mora lists Washington home for $3.15 million

Some six months after turning down a chance to become Washington’s head coach, Jim Mora severed another tie with his home state.

Heading into his third season at UCLA, Mora has listed his Washington for $3.149 million according to the LA Times. The two-story, six-bedroom house in Yarrow Point is listed on Realtor.com as having been built in 1918 and renovated in 2008, and comes complete with a theater room, gaming center, seven built-in flatscreen TVs, a wet bar, and an artist studio. The master suite also opens up to a deck with lake views.

Still, it’s hardly the highest-priced property in the neighborhood. According to Realtor.com, three homes in the area have recently sold for between $4.35 million to $6.4 million. Several others are listed for more than $3.9 million, including a pair of three-bedroom houses.

Mora could probably buy up one of those too if he wanted. Currently living in Manhattan Beach, he is slated to earn $3.25 million in base salary this year, as well as up to $930,000 in performance bonuses.

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UCLA’s all-time leading rusher Johnathan Franklin forced to retire after neck injury

At 24 years old, Johnathan Franklin’s career is already over.

UCLA’s all-time leading rusher will retire from the NFL after just one season, his career ended by a neck injury that sidelined him in Week 12 last year. The 5-foot-11 back was drafted in the fourth round in 2013 — lower than both he and many analysts expected — but was nonetheless overjoyed to head to the Green Bay Packers.

However, Franklin only carried the ball 19 times for a touchdown and 107 yards — 103 of which came in a Sept. 22 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. Continue reading

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Seali’i Epenesa signs with New England Patriots as final roster addition

One more Bruin is keeping his NFL dream alive.

Nose tackle Seali’i Epenesa wasn’t among the five UCLA players drafted last month, but signed with the New England Patriots as its 90th roster addition. The 6-foot-1, 310-pound lineman started 17 games over his last two seasons in Los Angeles, but was beaten out late last fall by true freshman Kenny Clark.

Epenesa recorded 16 tackles as a senior, as well as the lone sack of his career.

NFL teams cut their rosters to 75 players after the third preseason weekend, and to the regular-season maximum of 53 shortly after that.

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Brett Hundley, Eric Kendricks to represent UCLA at Pac-12 Media Days

Junior quarterback Brett Hundley and senior linebacker Eric Kendricks will represent UCLA at Pac-12 Media Days in late July, alongside Bruins head coach Jim Mora.

The event will be held at Paramount Studios in Hollywood on July 23 and 24, expanding to two days for the first time. UCLA will be available to most media on latter of the two days, taking the podium at 10:50 a.m.

You can see the full Pac-12 Media Days schedule below. Continue reading

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