The UCLA Bruins will be looking for someone to step up and fill the void of playmaker in 2013 following the departure of Johnathan Franklin. While the running back race is wide open heading into next fall, that lost production may come from a different position in 2013. Wide receiver Devin Fuller has the athleticism to step up next season in a major way.
Fuller originally came to UCLA as a quarterback, but has found the field at other positions under head coach Jim Mora, particularly at wide receiver. Last season, he caught 20 passes for 145 yards with a pair of touchdowns. With Brett Hundley securely entrenched as the starting quarterback for the foreseebable future, Fuller looks to become an even bigger part of the offense next season at multiple positions.
Mora has told reporters that Fuller will be getting snaps this season at several positions, including quarterback in Wildcat formations. The team is determined to get his athleticism into a featured part of the offense, making him a matchup problem whenever possible. His versatility will become a valuable weapon in the Bruins’ playbook and could be the key to UCLA retaining their supremacy in the Pac 12 South.
All over college football, we have seen the rise of these hybrid offensive players who don’t fit the mold for any certain position, but whose athleticism makes them a nightmare for opposing defenses to try and stop. The role was revolutionized by Percy Harvin with the Florida Gators under Urban Meyer and is continued to this day by players like De’Anthony Thomas with the Oregon Ducks.
Fuller, at 5-foot-11, 194 pounds, is probably too slight to handle the rigors of playing running back between the tackles, and doesn’t have the height to be a major game changer on the outside. His raw playmaking ability, however, makes him a perfect fit for the in-between role which Mora will use him liberally in next season.
If Fuller can take advantage of the opportunity, he could see his playing time increase dramatically in 2013 and he could make the difference between a successful season and a disappointing step back next fall.