Bruin Bites: UCLA Football in the NFL, O'Bannon Drives On, & Spring Teams Gear Up For Postseason.

Johnathan Franklin's advice was key in convincing Brett Hundley to stay with the Bruins for another year. - Stephen Dunn

The UCLA Bruins have bunch of links to the NFL, not just with their recent draftees, but also with former players, current NFL coaches, and one current Bruin QB. Also, Ed O'Bannon's lawsuit against the NCAA moves forward and several Bruin teams gear up for the post season.

The NFL Draft is over, which means the noise and hype from the draft should start slowing down sometime in the next month or so.  Fortunately for today's Bruin Bites, there are still some UCLA-worthy items floating around on the internets.

IE Angel did his usual amazing job discussing the 5 Bruins (Anthony Barr, Xavier Su'a-Filo, Cassius Marsh, Shaquelle Evans, and Jordan Zumwalt) who were drafted and the 3 Bruins (Brandon Sermons, Darius Bell, and Seali'i Epenesa) who signed pro contracts as free agents in the past couple days.  There are still a few Bruins available who are looking for spots on rosters and we hope to see them get signed in the coming days.  One former Bruin who is getting a shot at an NFL job is Jerry Rice Jr., who will get a three day tryout with the Baltimore Ravens this weekend.  Good luck, Jerry!

All Bruin fans breathed a huge sigh of relief that we weren't watching for Brett Hundley to get drafted last weekend, but according to ESPN's Ivan Maisel, Brett's decision to forgo the draft was tougher than we thought.

"There were some times when I could flip a coin and say whether I could stay or go," Hundley said "Honestly, it was a terrible decision, a hard one, personally. Some days I would wake up and I'd be like, 'All right, I'm out.' But if you count the days where I woke up and said, 'All right, I'm going to stay,' it was a little more than when I said I was gone."

Fortunately for Bruin fans, Hundley heeded the advice of Bruin great Johnathan Franklin.

UCLA coach Jim L. Mora told Hundley he should stay to mature as a quarterback. But the advice that most resonated with Hundley came from his former Bruins teammate, Green Bay running back Johnathan Franklin.

"We're real close," Hundley said. "He's almost like a big brother to me. And he said, 'College is something you really don't want to rush.' The NFL will always be there; basically, it's not going nowhere. The opportunity will always be there. But the opportunity to play college football and to be in the college atmosphere and to have that kind of bond with your teammates won't always be there. So enjoy it while you can and don't really worry about everything else because it will come."

Thank you, Jet!

Hundley will enter 2014 as one of the top quarterbacks in the nation and a preseason Heisman favorite and is a key reason the Bruins are aiming at the Rose Bowl and beyond this season.   But that doesn't stop the UCLA-haters from looking the other way.  In a typical way-too-early-to-be-anything-but-a-publicity-grab, Rotoworld's Josh Norris has put out his 2015 first round mock draft, and somehow he doesn't have Hundley on it.  He doesn't have Owamagbe Odighizuwa on it either.  Nor Eric Kendricks.  Nor any Bruin at all.  He does have Oregon QB Marcus Mariota going number one and FSU QB Jameis Winston going number two and a trogan at number three.  Something smells like BS to me.  I think Norris needs to have a little talk with Todd McShay who told everyone how Anthony Barr might slide out of the first round.  Except Minnesota didn't listen.  There's a reason these guys aren't in an NFL front office.  But in the meantime, keep hating and keep doubting.  I love those chips on our guys' shoulders.  I just wish we had some stripes there next to them.

Some people questioned how Cassius Marsh would fit in the NFL but he got scooped up in the 4th round and #108 overall, even though it was by the hated Pete Carroll  Michael Lev at the OC Register points out that this isn't the first time that Cheatey Petey has tried to win over Marsh.

...Marsh strongly considered playing for Carroll at USC. But rumors of Carroll leaving for the NFL prompted Marsh to look across town.

"I was bummed I didn't get to get coached by him in college, but I get to get coached by him on the next level," said Marsh, who's from Simi Valley and played at Oaks Christian of Westlake Village. "They're the world champs. It's a perfect situation for me."

At least this time Pete can pay him legally.

There were two other former Bruins who got drafted, though they might have escaped the notice of Bruin fans. WR Paul Richardson and DB Shaquille Richardson began their college careers as Bruins. But along with teammate Josh Shirley, the three were arrested on suspicion of felony theft on campus during the summer and were dismissed from the team.  A pathway back to U.C.L.A. was provided by then-coach Rick Neuheisel, but none of them took that path, and all three transferred. Paul ended up at Colorado and was drafted by Carroll and the Seahawks and will be teammates with Marsh once again.  Shaquille was drafted by the Steelers where he will be teammates once again with Zumwalt, and where he will be coached by Carnell Lake, the former Bruin star LB, then star safety for the Steelers, then Bruin DB coach, and now current Steelers DB coach.  Lake is the one who recruited Shaquille and offered him his scholie to U.C.L.A. when he was part of Neu's staff.  Football is a small world, huh?

There is a world outside of football, and there was some other Bruin news yesterday when a U.S. District Judge denied an NCAA motion to review a ruling in the case brought by Bruin great Ed O'Bannon on behalf of college student-athletes.  From Yahoo! Sports:

The NCAA requested that [Judge] Wilken reconsider a portion of her April 11 ruling. That ruling concluded that the NCAA cannot justify limiting what athletes can potentially receive for playing college sports because paying certain college athletes (football and men's basketball) would limit a school's ability "to provide increased financial support for women's sports and less prominent men's sports."

The NCAA has presented a number of "justifications" for not compensating athletes, but the assertion that it would take away from finances for non-revenue sports was shot down by Wilken.

The NCAA is trying to bog down the process with a bunch of motions like this, so we will continue to follow how the case progresses.  The trial itself is scheduled to begin on June 9.

And finally, we are getting down to the final championships left for the NCAA season.  Despite Coach Savage's faith that his struggling baseball team still has a shot at the post season, the women's teams are really the one carrying the Bruins' hopes for #111.  As B detailed yesterday, the women's softball team begins their NCAA title run this Friday against Southern Utah.  The women's golf team dominated their regional last weekend and will compete in the NCAA Championships beginning May 20.  Women's tennis will compete in the Round of 16 this Thursday in Georgia against the U of Miami for a spot in the quarterfinals on Saturday.  The men's tennis team will make the same trip next week to meet Tennessee in the Round of 16.

Stay tuned, and Go Bruins!

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