UCLA Football Post-Spring Roundtable: Part 2 - The Bruin Stars of Spring

Jonathan Ferrey

Part 2 of 3 part roundtable among BruinsNation bloggers - sounding off on various issues related to UCLA football following Bruins' 2014 spring camp.

Who is your pick to lead the team in receptions in 2014?

IE Angel: My rationale here is picking who gains the most from Shaq Evans lost production. I figure Hundley will throw for around 3500 yards and loses 47 catches on the outside (Evans) and 28 on the inside (Darius Bell andGrayson Mazzone), The outside will be split between Devin Lucien and Jordan Payton with Eldridge Massingtonfactoring in as well, the inside will be eaten up by Devin FullerThomas Duarte and Mossi Johnson. I think the safe bet is Jordan Payton because he's shown to be far more consistent than Lucien.

Bellerophon:  Either Jordan Payton, who seems to be a consistent target, or Devin Fuller working out of the slot since he's explosive and the coaches will want the ball in his hands as much as possible.

Uclaluv: Hmmm.  I'm going with, man this is tough.  Okay, Payton, followed closely by Duarte and Fuller. I think Fuller gets a lot of those nice little shots cutting across the middle.  But I think Duarte gets open a lot down the middle and has great hands.  He seems to have become a favorite of Hundley (finally).  But I think it's become clear that Payton is the go to guy for Brent.  So Payton it is.

chrissorr: I agree with IE.  The safe bet is Jordan Payton.  I'd like to see Lucien have a big year.  Surprised I didn't see more of Johnson during Spring Showcase.

Odysseus: Payton seems most likely to lead the team in receptions, although he may not lead in yardage.

JoeBruin15: Us New Jersey guys need to stick together. I've got Fuller.

gbruin: Payton and Duarte.  Lucien will have the most big plays, but the offense will flow through Payton outside and Duarte inside and up the middle.

bruinclassof10: Jordan Payton

Who is your pick to lead the team in TDs in 2014?

IE Angel: Brett Hundley runs for more touchdowns than anyone else catches or runs for. His 11 rushing touchdowns (and 1 receiving) last year probably becomes 15 touchdowns or so.

Bellerophon: Brett Hundley.  It's not even close.

Uclaluv: Ditto (Hundley). Boring huh?  Okay, I'll add Duarte and Payton

chrissorr: Hundley is the obvious choice.  James after that.  If its Lee, I take that as a good sign.  Duarte will also get his share.

Odysseus: I wanted to come up with a running back who would rush for more, but I wasn't able to do it.  Hundley.

JoeBruin15: #Hundley4Heisman. ‘Nuff said.

gbruin: Jordon James.  I think Hundley will have the luxury to pick his spots this fall and he'll be able to rely on the running game without having to keep the ball himself as often.

bruinclassof10: Brett Hundley

Who is your pick to lead the team in sacks in 2014?

IE Angel: Owamagbe Odighizuwa (I really missed spelling that name) has looked like the 5* overwhelming edge rusher that he was expected to be. I think he'll get pretty close to double digit sacks. I also am going out on a limb and saying he ends up being drafted in the first 64 picks in 2015. Expecting a big jump from Ellis McCarthy and Eddie Vanderdoes as pass rushers as well.

Bellerophon: Owamagbe Odighizuwa

Uclaluv: Kenny Orjioke, Owamagbe, Odighizuwa (spelling it out so I can learn it), and Jack.  I think the LB's are going to be going for it a lot this year.

chrissorr: Owa.

Odysseus: Odighizuwa.  Again, I was trying to talk myself into picking someone else but was unable to do it.

JoeBruin15: You guys all disappoint me here. Owamagbe Odighizuwa is a beast. He also has the most fun name to pronounce on the team. But you guys don't know Jack! Myles Jack.

bruinclassof10: Owa

In the scale of 1 to 5 (1 being comfortable to 5 being deeply concerned) - what is your current state of mind regarding UCLA's kicking game?

IE Angel: I'm at a 1. Again, probably in the minority here for not being at all concerned about the kicking game. I don't worry too much about Ka'imi Fairbairn. Team is too talented everywhere else to think having a top 50 kicker instead of a top 10 kicker will impact the team, in my opinion.

Bellerophon: I'd say I'm at a 3.  Fairbairn is definitely not Kai Forbath re-born. Does this team need an elite kicker? No, definitely not, and Ka'imi is consistent enough.  But for every elite team, there's at least one game that comes down to the special teams and the kickers, where the best of the best escape with the close win.  For us, it could very well be the Pac-12 title game, or it could be that September 25 road game at Arizona State.  Hopefully, Kai'imi comes through when he's needed the most.

Uclaluv: I am with IE here.  In practice, Fairbairn became quite consistent at short to mid range kicks.  The punts looked really good on Saturday.  I'll go with a 1 as well.

chrissorr:  I'm at 3 or 4.  Never been a fan.  More limelight this year, and could be closer games with Oregon and later on in the playoffs.

Odysseus: 3, I'm not totally comfortable, but I'm not too worried either.

JoeBruin15: Put me at a 1.5 here, solely for placekicking. I don't understand why the coaching staff hasn't brought in so much as a walk-on PK to compete with Fairbairn, especially when you consider that Bruin alum Chris Sailer has developed the top kicking camp in the country for HS players. Why can't Mora and company tap into that resource and bring a guy in to compete? That said, nothing would tick me off more during the reign of Coach Toledo's Successor than when we would play Donahue ball and accept a field goal try. Touchdowns win games, not field goals (except when you're playing Stanford for the P12 Championship).

bruinclassof10: I'm at a 3. Not panicking but not feeling too great about it either.

Who are your three stars from this year's spring football camp (including the Spring Showcase)?

IE Angel: Mossi Johnson, Priest Willis and a tie for 3rd between Fabian Moreau and Owamagbe Odighizuwa. Mossi Johnson is #1 by quite a bit, Brett Hundley not playing in the Showcase hurt him because he was Hundley's favorite target all spring. Moreau and Odighizuwa have already proven how good they are, but they seemed to take the next step this year. From All-Pac-12 Honorable Mention status to All-Pac-12 first team status. Willis is the player I watched more than anyone else live. I think I was there the day he took the leap after battling Massington in 1-on-1s. He looked rock solid in the showcase except for one play where Payton broke his ankles on a double-move to the sideline on a deep corner. He was with the starters on defense, and I wouldn't be surprised if it stayed that way.

Bellerophon:  I think Priest Willis has done a lot this spring to take the next step and starting to justify all of the hype that surrounded him coming out of high school.  Owa being back is huge for the DL, but I also thought Deon Hollinsput on a good show in the spring game - whether than translates into anything when the real games start is another story, but he looked promising.

Uclaluv: I have to pick Thomas Duarte, Kenny Orjioke, and Mossi Johnson/Fabian Moreau (can I do four?).  There are many that stood out to me, but in the few practices I attended I found myself looking to see who numbers 46, 14, and 10 were (I knew Duarte was 19).  There is some amazing talent on this team, but I think these guys really stood out.

Odysseus: Mossi Johnson, Odighizuwa, Duarte.

JoeBruin15: Craig Lee made a big impression on me. Owamagbe Odighizuwa would be another and my third is Ishmael Adams. That guy is always around the ball and he's got a good pair of hands to take it the other way.

bruinclassof10: Mossi Johnson, Fabian Moreau and Kenny Clark.

You know the drill here. The answers above are just some of the thoughts from some of our frontpagers. If you agree/disagree, chime in with your 2 cents (or lot more) in the comment thread. More to come tomorrow in Part 3 including discussion on our expectations for Coach Jim Mora's program in 2014. GO BRUINS.

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