UCLA Football: The Development of Brett Hundley
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Could Brett Hundley go down as the most decorated UCLA quarterback of all time?
That question cannot be answered until Hundley's collegiate career comes to a close. However, if his freshman season is any indication, the redshirt sophomore from Chandler, Arizona will go down as one of the best to ever play the position in Westwood.
As a redshirt freshman, he led the Bruins to a Pac-12 South title. He threw for 3,745 yards and 29 touchdowns while completing passes at a 66.6 percent clip. Hundley also rushed for 355 yards. The rushing totals would have been far greater if he hadn't been sacked a startling 52 times.
Perhaps most important to UCLA fans, Hundley led the Bruins to a victory over crosstown rival USC. Against the Trojans, Hundley was exceptional. His clinical dissection of USC's defense through the air was impressive for such a young player. Hundley also managed to rush for two touchdowns in the contest.
Hundley broke several school records in his inaugural season. He set records for single-season passing yards, single-season total offense and single-season completions. Hundley also became the first Bruin to throw for at least 300 yards in three straight games.
It's quite an impressive list of accolades. From a pure production standpoint, the Bruins have not had a signal caller with such a high ceiling since Cade McNown.
Despite his tangible success, Hundley's greatest quality could be his demeanor. For a younger player, he's supremely mature and confident. Hundley's also made it a point of emphasis to stress team camaraderie. With Johnathan Franklin now in the NFL, Hundley has truly taken the mantle as the leader of this football team.
Head coach Jim Mora remarked that "[Hundley's] a great leader and a great role model for our players. Even though he's a young guy, everyone looks up to him."
During this offseason, Hundley has worked hard to improve himself as a football player. He's gained 20 pounds from a season ago and is down to 8 percent body fat. That should help to improve his already decent speed and quickness.
In addition to his physical transformations, he's worked diligently at furthering his comprehension of the offense.
Heading into 2013, there are some adjustments that Hundley will have to work on. Most of his struggles stemmed from inexperience. It's understandable, considering that last season was his first on the field.
There were many times where indecisiveness in the pocket led to negative plays and sacks. Instances occurred when Hundley took a sack as opposed to throwing the ball away. If the first option was covered, Hundley was quick to take off and run.
The act of going through his progressions and making the requisite adjustment weren't always there. Again, it's expected out of a redshirt freshman.
Fortunately for the Bruins, all of these things are correctable. Being more assertive in the pocket should also come with growth and experience.
The quality of his play last season was undeniable. His decision-making, while rash at times, was strong for the most part. Hundley was very adept at putting touch on intermediate and deeper routes, and he had the wherewithal to not force throws regularly.
It'll be fascinating to see how he navigates a tough 2013 schedule, which includes road games at Stanford, Nebraska, Oregon, Arizona and USC. However, Hundley's trajectory can only go up from here.
With continued development, the Bruins have a true star in the making.
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