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2017 UCLA Football Fall Preview: The Bruins’ Secondary Keeps Getting Better

The Bruins only gave up 12 passing TDs last season down from 18 in 2015 and from 22 in 2014.

UCLA v BYU Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr./Getty Images

The UCLA secondary continued improving again last season.

Last year, the Bruin defense was ranked 7th in the country in Defensive Pass Efficiency. In two seasons under Defensive Coordinator Tom Bradley, the Bruins have lowered the opponents’ pass completion percentage from 61.6% under Jeff Ulbrich to 57.1% in Bradley’s first season to 55.5% last year.

Also, the team has significantly reduced the number of touchdown passes they have given up since Bradley became the DC, cutting it almost in half. Meanwhile, the number of interceptions each year has been climbing from 11 in 2014 to 12 in 2015 to 15 last season. Those numbers are significant and extremely positive trends for he defense.

It could be a challenge to keep improving again this year because the team has lost some talent due to graduation and a graduate transfer. But this seems like a group of guys who will be up for that challenge.

Personnel Changes

Who’s Gone: Randall Goforth, Marcus Rios, Fabian Moreau and Johnnie Johnson (graduate transfer)

Who’s New: Darnay Holmes, Elijah Gates, Jaylan Shaw, Quentin Lake, Morrell Osling and Mossi Johnson (switch from offense)

Who’s Out: DeChaun Holiday is out for the season, per Coach Mora.

Here is the Post-Spring Football roster with the exception of most of the newcomers who are not yet on the official roster.

2017 UCLA Football Defensive Backs Roster

No. Name Height Weight Year
No. Name Height Weight Year
1 Darnay Holmes 5-10 195 Fr.
3 Brandon Burton 6-0 200 So.
4 Jaleel Wadood 5-9 185 Sr.
6 Adarius Pickett 5-11 200 R-Jr.
10 Colin Samuel 6-3 200 R-So.
17 DeChaun Holiday 6-2 225 R-So.
18 Octavius Spencer 5-11 185 Jr.
21 Mossi Johnson 6-0 195 Sr.
22 Nate Meadors 5-11 195 Jr.
23 Will Lockett 5-11 195 R-So.
25 Denzel Fisher 6-1 180 R-Jr.
26 Jason Baker 6-0 185 R-So.
27 Tre Polamalu 6-0 185 R-Fr.
28 Keyon Riley 6-0 195 R-Fr.
39 Michael Mapes 5-9 180 R-Fr.

Of the newcomers, I would only expect Darney Holmes to make a significant contribution this season because of the depth in the unit. As a result, I wouldn’t expect to see any of the other newcomers unless they are needed due to injuries to the upperclassmen.

Projected Depth Chart

The depth chart isn’t quite so easy to project beyond the probable starters, but I’ll give this a shot anyway.

2017 UCLA Secondary Projected Depth Chart

Cornerback Safety Safety Cornerback
Cornerback Safety Safety Cornerback
Denzel Fisher Adarius Pickett Jaleel Wadood Nate Meadors
Darnay Holmes Mossi Johnson Will Lockett Keyon Riley
Elijah Gates Brandon Burton Octavius Spencer Colin Samuel

Of course, this is a projection and a guess. Jim Mora never releases depth charts. So, any depth chart is usually a guesstimate. And, of course, Fall Camp could change any projected depth chart as well.

Go Bruins!!!