NFL roundup: Anthony Barr signs for guaranteed $12.7 million over four years

» After being picked ninth overall in the NFL draft, linebacker Anthony Barr officially signed with the Minnesota Vikings on Tuesday, inking a fully guaranteed contract worth $12,743,596 over four years. He will get a signing bonus of $7,588,072, and the team can exercise a fifth-year option.

He and other former UCLA players must return to campus through spring quarter, however, since NFL rules dictate that anyone who hasn’t graduated cannot stay their teams until their school sessions end.

» Houston Texans sideline reporter John Harris said Xavier Su’a-Filo will become the starting left guard by Week 1, and be a “key figure” in the run game for at least the next five to seven years. Continue reading

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Brett Hundley does his best Terry Tate impression

In a short for UCLA’s annual Spring Sing, Brett Hundley became UCLA’s campus enforcer — a nice play off of the famous Terry Tate Reebok commercials.

Fullback Luke Gane, featured as Hundley’s hype man, is part of the Spring Sing company. He also played the Joker two years ago in a team talent show short with quarterback Jerry Neuheisel.

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UCLA’s season opener at Virginia scheduled for 9 a.m. PT

UCLA will start its 2014 season bright and early.

The Bruins’ opener at Virginia will tip off at 9 a.m. PT, and be broadcast on ESPN. They fell into an 18-point hole at Nebraska last season in a similarly early start before rallying back, but also were also still grappling with the death of receiver Nick Pasquale.

The Cavaliars are coming off a 2-10 season and a winless trek through its ACC schedule.

UCLA last opened a season on ESPN in 2008, when it beat No. 18 Tennessee in a 27-24 overtime win at the Rose Bowl.

No other kickoff times have yet been released.

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Four-star recruit Jaason Lewis decommits from UCLA

Four-star prospect Jaason Lewis has decommitted from UCLA, leaving the Bruins with six names in the class of 2015.

Lewis told Rivals.com that he reopened his recruiting due to family reasons. Rated a top-20 athlete nationally, the Virginia Beach product said he is still considering UCLA along with every other school on his list.

At 6-foot-4, 246 pounds, Lewis would have likely played running back as a Bruin. Three-star tailback Bolu Olorunfunmi committed to UCLA in March, roughly a month after Lewis did.

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Jim Mora Count on Me Family Foundation hosts eighth annual Celebrity Golf Classic

The eighth annual Jim Mora Celebrity Golf Classic takes place on Monday at the Riviera Country Club. The event is the main fundraiser for the Count on Me Family Foundation run by Mora and his wife, Shannon, which benefits children who are in need and at risk.

This year’s golf event will include actors Joel McHale and Kevin Nealon, as well as several former NFL players such as Jonathan Ogden and Rod Woodson.

The 11 charities that received partnership grants in the most recent cycle include Mattel Children’s Hospital UCLA, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, and the Special Olympics of Southern California, Washington and Georgia.

The foundation takes donations via PayPal, and also has an Amazon Associates program that donates up to 8.5% of your Amazon.com purchases.

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UCLA to host Fresno State at Rose Bowl in 2018

UCLA has almost found enough nonconference opponents for the next five years.

The Bruins have beefed up their schedules significantly since head coach Jim Mora arrived, and the latest addition is a 2018 date with Fresno State. UCLA will host the Bulldogs at the Rose Bowl on Sept. 15 that year, a week after it visits Oklahoma to start a home-and-home series.

Fresno State is 20-6 in two seasons under Tim DeRuyter, but has yet to win a bowl game.

UCLA’s 2018 season opener is not yet filled.

The Bruins also have home-and-home series scheduled against Texas A&M, Rutgers, Michigan and LSU. See the rest of their future nonconference slates after the jump. Continue reading

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Linebackers Myles Jack, Eric Kendricks make Lott IMPACT Trophy watch list

Can UCLA pull off a repeat?

Linebackers Myles Jack and Eric Kendricks were both named to the 42-man watch list for the Lott IMPACT Trophy — which Anthony Barr won last year. Kendricks, a senior, also made last year’s preseason list.

One of the sport’s major national awards, its stated criteria is “to give equal weight to personal character as well as athletic performance from a defensive college player.”

Jack and Kendricks were two of the Pac-12′s 11 nominees. USC, Stanford and Washington each also placed two names on the list.

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UCLA football, men’s basketball APR scores trending up

Both UCLA football and men’s basketball teams have earned their highest academic progress rates in a decade.

The former scored a four-year APR of 979 for the 2012-13 academic year, second in the Pac-12 behind Stanford. The program’s multi-year score has improved each year since it recorded a 915 in 2004-05.

Basketball was seventh in the conference at 969 — a significant improvement from the 951, 942 and 948 it scored in the three prior academic years.

Head coach Jim Mora earned a $50,000 bonus for having the football team reach an APR of at least 930, and a graduation success rate of more than 56 percent. Steve Alford earned a $10,000 bonus for having the men’s basketball team clear an APR of 925.

To compete in the NCAA postseason, teams must have a minimum four-year APR of 900 or a two-year average of 930. Starting in 2014-15, that bar rises to 930 and 940.

The five UCLA teams that earned perfect single-year APR scores of 1,000 were baseball, women’s cross country, women’s volleyball, women’s water polo and women’s golf — which also scored perfectly on its four-year average. Continue reading

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UCLA post-spring position outlook: Special teams

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. This blog has covered the status of each position group moving forward. Last in the series is …

Special teams

Recently, special teams hasn’t been a major concern for UCLA. Over the last two seasons, the team blocked 12 kicks and punts — an FBS total matched only by Rutgers. Last year, it ranked top-20 in both opponent punt and kick returns; in four of the five years prior, the Bruins ranked outside the top 40 in the former and the top 100 in the latter.

A key difference looms heading into this fall: Jeff Ulbrich is no longer the UCLA special teams coordinator.

Promoted the defensive coordinator, Ulbrich will continue coaching inside linebackers but surrenders lead oversight of the unit that helped extend his own professional career. Outside linebackers will be charged to new assistant Mike Tuiasosopo, who also holds the title of special teams coach. Continue reading

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UCLA post-spring position outlook: Secondary

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. This blog will cover the status of each position group moving forward. Next up …

Secondary

UCLA is very familiar with offense-to-defense success. With the last project off to the NFL as a top-ten pick, can the Bruins duplicate that sort of transformation?

Heading into the 2014 season, the best bet on the roster is Fabian Moreau — a former three-star running back who converted to cornerback as soon as he arrived in Los Angeles two years ago. The 6-foot-2, 200-pound soon-to-be junior earned an all-conference honorable mention in just his second year at the position — one in which he started 12 games. Continue reading

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