Quarterback Brett Hundley announced Monday morning his decision to return to UCLA for his redshirt junior season, turning down the 2014 NFL draft. “What we have built for next year, all the stars are aligned,” he said. Story here.
UCLA has announced a 9 a.m. Monday press conference for Brett Hundley’s “major announcement.”
UCLA’s potential run at a Rose Bowl or national title is still alive.
Quarterback Brett Hundley will return to UCLA for his redshirt junior season, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, turning down what could have been a first-round selection in the NFL draft. The star quarterback had said after the Bruins’ 42-12 Sun Bowl win over Virginia Tech last week that he had “no idea” what his decision will be.
Hundley rushed for a career-high 161 yards and two touchdowns against the Hokies while throwing for 226 yards and two more scores — breaking Cade McNown’s UCLA bowl game record for total offensive yards. The redshirt sophomore has struggled with decision-making throughout the season, but his talent and upside make him a tantalizing pro prospect.
When he declares, Hundley will be the first Bruin quarterback drafted since McNown went 12th overall to the Chicago Bears in 1999. McNown took UCLA to its last Rose Bowl berth four months earlier.
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.
IM A UCLA BRUIN BABY #8CLAP !!!
— Nate Starks (@Nate_Starks) January 5, 2014
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.
In a surprise move, four-star linebacker Dwight Williams put on a UCLA hat Saturday morning. The Gardena Serra standout announced his decision during the second quarter of the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.
The Bruins had verbal commitments from four other Army All-Americans. Zach Whitley, the No. 6 linebacker in the country, called assistant coach Adrian Klemm Friday night to flip his decision from Alabama and will enroll early. UCLA also secured prior verbals from three other four-star recruits at the bowl: receiver Austin Roberts, cornerback Jaleel Wadood, defensive tackle Ainuu Taua.
The team did miss out on two other announcements in San Antonio. Continue reading
You probably suspected it but I have decided to forego my senior year & make myself available for the 2014 NFL Draft pic.twitter.com/r7uGpN5e8X
— Xavier Su'a-Filo (@XMANEE56) January 4, 2014
UCLA’s most talented offensive lineman is heading to the pros.
In a decision that even he acknowledged was widely “suspected,” junior Xavier Su’a-Filo announced on Twitter that he will declare for the 2014 NFL draft. Already 23 years old, his eligibility was pushed back by a two-year Mormon mission.
Winner of the Morris Trophy for Pac-12′s top offensive lineman, the 6-foot-3, 304 pound Utah native manned both left guard and left tackle for the Bruins this season. He will play the former as a pro, but moved to the outside halfway through the season due to numerous injuries. Continue reading
UCLA isn’t just keeping coaches away from blue-blood programs. The same day head coach Jim Mora turned away inquiries from Texas, four-star linebacker Zach Whitley flipped his verbal commitment from
Scout.com’s Brandon Huffman first reported the news. According to Rivals.com’s Edward Lewis, Whitley will enroll in spring alongside Galena Park North Shore teammate Najee Toran, a three-star offensive lineman.
The Houston-area product had committed to the Crimson Tide last May.
— Bruce Feldman (@BFeldmanCBS) January 3, 2014
Jim Mora (and UCLA fans) might as well get used to this. As long as the Bruins keep winning, their head coach’s name will come up every time a major job is open.
The latest suitor is Texas, which pushed Mack Brown into retirement. ESPN reports that the school is looking at Mora as a potential replacement, though sources dispute whether or not there has been contact.
Orangebloods.com reports that Mora — who just guided UCLA to its first 10-win season since 2005 — will interview with the Longhorns after Louisville’s Charlie Strong and Vanderbilt’s James Franklin. Continue reading
In Wednesday’s edition of the Daily News:
– My story on UCLA’s 42-12 win over Virginia Tech in the Sun Bowl, and where the Bruins sit heading into 2014. (Mainly, awaiting Brett Hundley’s NFL draft decision.)
– Jill Painter’s column on why quarterback Hundley should go pro after his standout showing in El Paso.
– A notebook on linebacker Jordan Zumwalt, who closed his UCLA career with co-MVP honors in the Sun Bowl.