By Dan Williams @Dan_Wi11iams on May 30, 2014
The UCLA Bruins are coming off a strong 2013 campaign in which they went 10-3. Head coach Jim Mora Jr. enters his third year at UCLA with a number of quality players returning, including Heisman hopeful QB Brett Hundley. But in order for the Bruins to build on their previous success, they will need players to fill the void left by stars like Anthony Barr.
Here’s a look at five players with the biggest shoes to fill for the Bruins.
Coming out of high school, Isaac Savaiinaea was a four-star prospect. Savaiinaea was able to play in all 13 games for the Bruins during his freshman season in 2013. Now in his second year, he will be called upon to replace linebacker Jordan Zumwalt’s 30 career starts.
The Bruins no longer have the reliable services of WR Shaq Evans and will be looking for younger players to step up in 2014. Devin Fuller, a junior, is the probable candidate to assume Evans’ role, but replacing Evans’ consistency will be a tough task. Luckily for UCLA, Fuller saw plenty of action and accounted for 43 receptions and four touchdowns. Look for Fuller to be a top target for Brett Hundley this year.
While it may not be the easiest name to pronounce, Owamagbe Odighizuwa’s name should be familiar to Bruins fans. Although Odighizuwa did not see the field in 2013 due to injury, he will be looked upon to replace DE Cassius Marsh’s 10.5 tackles for loss. Odighizuwa is no stranger to the field and has played in a total of 38 games for UCLA.
Xavier Su’a-Filo was one of the top guards available in the 2014 draft; now, offensive guard Alex Redmond will be relied upon to fill Su’a-Filo’s shoes. A sophomore, Redmond was a highly touted lineman coming out of high school and earned the starting right guard position as a freshman. It’s unclear whether he will remain on the right side or move over to the left, but Richmond’s experience will help anchor the offensive line.
The reigning freshman offensive and defensive player of the year, Myles Jack, has the toughest shoes to fill this season filling in for OLB Anthony Barr. Coming off a freshman year where he contributed at linebacker and running back, Jack’s sole focus should be on the defensive side of the ball in 2014. He amassed 75 tackles, 11 passes defended, and two interceptions on his way to also being named a freshman All-American.
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