By Michael Briggs @MichaelSBriggs on July 31, 2014
Last season, Myles Jack entered campus as a freshman and left a Pac-12 star. While it's rare to see a true freshman make that kind of jump, Jack proved a player can go from relatively unknown to a household name in just a few weeks. Jack returns to the Bruins in 2014 as a star among stars, but there are other UCLA players with impact potential that may not already be on your radar. Here are five breakout candidates.
A natural pass-catching tight end, Thomas Duarte is certainly not an unknown commodity but is, nevertheless, primed for a big season for UCLA with Brett Hundley under center. A Mackey Award list selection, the sophomore did not have more than three receptions in any one game, but appeared in all thirteen and tied the UCLA freshman record with three receiving touchdowns. Expect the 6-foot-3, 221-pound player to grab a few more than that this year.
Like Duarte, Clark appeared in every game as a freshman last season, even getting starting nods for the final two games against USC and Virginia Tech. Although he has to contend with Ellis McCarthy for the starting nose tackle spot, the 6-foot-3, 315-pound sophomore is too big and talented to keep off the field after totaling 31 tackles, four tackles-for-loss and one sack last year.
The fifth-year senior safety has the chance to have a monster season leading a great Bruins defensive backfield — which is saying something, considering he racked up 89 tackles, two interceptions and two fumble recoveries in 2013. A former corner, Jefferson allows UCLA to take risks in man coverage and is equally adept at patrolling deep and playing up in the box. An All-Pac 12-season certainly isn't out of the question.
Perkins might not be the flashiest runner, but he got the job done for UCLA last season when the Bruins needed consistent yards following the injuries to Jordan James and Malcom Jones. In fact, the rising redshirt sophomore finished second only to backfield mate Brett Hundley with 573 rushing yards and six touchdowns in 2013. Although other backs will get looks, Perkins' steady experience will be an undeniable factor in the Bruins offense.
The quick-twitch Adams led UCLA with four picks in 2013, but aside from being a candidate for All-Pac-12 honors at corner, the junior also provides a jolt in the kick return game after averaging 35 yards-per-return last season. The Bruins will likely play a 4-2-5 defense in 2014 under new coordinator Jeff Ulbrich, who will rely on a deep secondary to limit the myriad talented Pac-12 passing attacks. Expect Adams to be all over the field.
July 6, 2015 by Dan Escalona
With a fierce quarterback competition already raging, it would be the best for Ohio State to redshirt highly–regarded recruit Torrance Gibson for the 2015 season. Read More
July 6, 2015 by Tyler Brett
How will Pitt handle the season-ending injury to starting right tackle Jaryd Jones-Smith? Read More
July 4, 2015 by Mike Gibson
With the AAC being the most high-profile Group of 5 league, it can make a statement it belongs with the Power 5 with wins in any of these five games. Read More
July 3, 2015 by Dan Escalona
After missing most of 2014 due to injury, former Ohio State four-star recruit Johnnie Dixon is healthy once again. The speedster promises to put the Buckeye offense into overdrive in 2015. Read More
July 2, 2015 by brookshooley
Penn State's 2015 season is right around the corner, but waiting isn't easy for Nittany Lions fans. This list of the top 10 plays from last season will help pass the time. Read More
July 2, 2015 by Tyler Brett
Utah may have a major issue reloading their secondary in 2015 after the arrest of Dominique Hatfield. Read More
July 1, 2015 by Dan Escalona
In Northwestern's quarterback competition, Clayton Thorson gives the Wildcats the best chance to be a surprise in Big 10 football and a return to conference relevance. Read More
July 1, 2015 by Barrett Pfeiffer
Here are the rankings for the starting quarterbacks in the SEC East heading into the 2015 college football season. Read More