UCLA Football 2011: 10 Bruins Primed for Breakout Seasons
The 2010 football season in Westwood was marked with ups, downs and major inconsistency at all positions on the field. With the departure of Chuck Bullough and Norm Chow, the Bruins will have new looks on offense and defense.
Although they did do some good things last year, like beat Texas and Houston, they also played horribly in some games.
As a UCLA fan, I know they will be improved this year because they were so young last year and they have their main core of players intact, but what are the real expectations for UCLA this year?
These 10 players should have a major impact this upcoming season for the Bruins.
10. Nelson Rosario
Although Nelson Rosario is UCLA's primary receiver already, I believe he is truly primed for a breakout season this year. He is listed at 6'5", 220 lbs. and should help UCLA re-invent their passing attack. He has been a steady performer his first three years in Westwood, but he should emerge as UCLA's top pass catcher and help the Bruins take a step forward in 2011.
2010 Stats: 29 Receptions for 309 yards, 1 TD
2011 Projected Stats: 50 Receptions for 620 yards, 4 TD
9. Anthony Barr
Anthony Barr saw action in all 12 games as a freshman in 2010 at the F-back position and should be poised to take a major leap forward in 2011 now that Morrell Presley has decided to transfer. Barr is a freak athletically and should help the Bruins hit their stride with the Pistol offense. He is a threat to run the ball and also a threat to catch passes. He should be a weapon that Rick Neuheisel and Mike Johnson should look to use often this fall.
2010 stats: 9 receptions 66 yards, 6 rushes 29 yards
2011 Projected stats. 15 receptions 95 yards, 20 rushes, 85 yards, 2 TDs
8. Joseph Fauria
Joseph Fauria is another one of the Bruins who is primed to take a major leap forward this year. He is the tallest player on the UCLA roster standing at 6'8" and should be a major component in this year's passing game. He saw action in all 12 games last year and caught two touchdown passes against Arizona State and USC. He should become a major red-zone threat because of his size and pass catching ability.
2010 stats: 3 receptions 21 yards, 2 TDs
2011 Projected Stats: 15 receptions 115 yards, 4 TDs
7. Jordon James
Due to an injury plagued 2010, James was forced to be redshirted, but while he was sitting out, he was starring on the UCLA practice squad. He won the Charles Pike award for most outstanding practice squad player on the offensive side of the ball. The backfield is pretty crowded as it is, with Franklin, Coleman and Malcolm Jones, but this speedy back should be making splashes in a big way this upcoming fall.
2010 stats: none
2011 projected stats: 35 carries, 225 yards, 3 TDs
6. Cassius Marsh
Cassius Marsh saw playing time in 11 of the 12 games that UCLA played in 2010 and should be competing for a starting spot in 2011. He earned Freshman All Pac-10 team honors and should continue to develop into a really solid defensive tackle for new Defensive Coordinator Joe Tresey.
2010 stats: 23 tackles, 18 solo 5 ast.
2011 projected stats. 34 tackles, 26 solo, eight ast., 2 sacks.
5. Owamagbe Odighizuwa
While the return of Datone Jones on the defensive line will surely limit Owa's playing time, he will still be able to be a major contributor this upcoming season. He had a solid freshman year, recording three sacks, and this former 4-star recruit should be primed for a solid season wearing the blue and gold for the Bruins this fall.
2010 stats: 10 tackles, 5 solo 5 ast., 3 sacks
2011 projected stats: 18 tackles, 10 solo 8 ast., 5 sacks
4. Kip Smith
The photo that I put on here is obviously of former UCLA kicker Kai Forbath, but this slide is going to be dedicated to the person that will hopefully be able to live up to the lofty expectations set by UCLA kickers. The kicking game has always been a solid for the Bruins in the past from Justin Medlock to Kai Forbath, and Kip Smith should look to add to that tradition. I read that accuracy issues plagued him in the spring, but hopefully, he can fix those issues and help keep UCLA's kicking game a constant this fall.
2010 stats: none
2011 stats: 33 xpm 33 xpa. 15-18 field goals.
3. Datone Jones
Let me get this out there. Datone Jones is already a proven player in college football, and the only reason I'm including him on this list is because he missed the entire 2010 season with a foot injury. He is poised to make a huge impact on the defensive line for the Bruins and should be a force in opposing backfields. He is slated to be a leader of this defense and should be poised for a big return year for the Bruins.
2009 stats (missed 2010 season): 30 tackles, 12 solo 18 ast., 4 sacks
2011 projected stats: 38 tackles. 18 solo, 20 ast., 7 sacks
2. Richard Brehaut
I really could have gone either way here with Brehaut or Prince, but I believe that Brehaut is going to be the starter for the majority of the season. The reason I say that is because Kevin Prince hasn't played an entire season of football since his junior year in high school, and he always seems to have some sort of injury.
I personally believe that Brehaut is the Bruins' better passer, but he has been criticized for not working as hard as he should and he doesn't quite have a grasp on the playbook. I believe that Prince is considered the favorite heading into fall camp, but don't be surprised if he gets hurt again and Brehaut is handed the starting job. This really could have gone either way, but I think that if Brehaut plays, he will prove Bruin fans why he was an Under-Armour All American.
2010 stats: 212 PA, 119 PC, 1,296 yards 7 int, 6 TDs
2011 projected stats: 350 PA, 200 PC, 2,200 yards 12 TDs, 10 ints
1. Dietrich Riley
If anyone watched the game against Oregon State, they witnessed this hit where Dietrich Riley knocked off Jacquizz Rodgers' helmet. He saw action in 11 of the 12 games last year and was mostly a contributor on special teams, but with the departure of Rahim Moore, I'm really excited to see what Riley can do if handed the starting job. I think he is primed for the biggest breakout season this year because I believe that he will win the starting strong safety job in the fall and will have a major impact for the Bruins secondary.
I don't think Riley has the natural ball hawking abilities like Moore did, but I do think he is more of a sure tackler and is definitely primed for a major breakout season this year. Bruin fans should be excited to see what he can do playing next to Tony Dye.
2010 stats: 20 tackles, 17 solo, 3 ast., 0 ints.
2011 projected stats: 84 tackles, 75 solo 9 ast., 3 ints