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2018 UCLA Football Fall Preview: Bruin Secondary Needs to Get Stingier

The secondary took a step back in 2017, but will need to improve for UCLA to be successful.

Darnay Holmes (#1) will continue to lead the secondary with Adarius Pickett.
Joe Piechowski

The last defensive position group to look at is the defensive backs.

After having a really good year in 2016, the Bruins took a step back in 2017. In 2016, UCLA was ranked 7th nationally in Defensive Pass Efficiency, but the team dropped to 72nd last season. After allowing just 12 passing touchdowns in 2016, the Bruin defense allowed 19 passing touchdowns in 2017.

In both cases, a lot of the blame for these stats has to fall on the secondary. In order for the Bruin defense to get better, the secondary must improve and that starts by allowing fewer touchdown passes.

Personnel Changes

Who’s Gone: UCLA lost five defensive backs after last season. Mossi Johnson graduated while Will Lockett and Denzel Fisher have transferred. Walk-ons Chase Ault and Michael Mapes are no longer on the team.

Who’s New: Rayshad Williams, Stephan Blaylock, Alex Johnson, Kenny Churchwell III, Patrick Jolly, Elisha Guidry, and Zack Huffstutter

Here is the complete roster for the secondary.

2018 UCLA Football Secondary Roster

# Player name Height Weight Year
# Player name Height Weight Year
3 Rayshad Williams 6-2 183 Fr.
4 Stephan Blaylock 5-10 180 Fr.
19 Alex Johnson 6-0 170 Fr.
23 Kenny Churchwell III 6-1 190 Fr.
27 Patrick Jolly 6-1 175 Fr.
30 Elisha Guidry 5-11 182 Fr.
31 Zack Huffstutter 5-10 190 Fr.
9 Elijah Gates 5-10 180 R-Fr.
24 Jay Shaw 5-11 191 R-Fr.
29 Ryan Parks 6-0 202 R-Fr.
47 Shea Pitts 5-10 187 R-Fr.
10 Colin Samuel 6-2 205 R-Jr.
28 Keyon Riley 6-1 198 R-So.
6 Adarius Pickett 5-11 198 R-Sr.
1 Darnay Holmes 5-10 198 So.
7 Mo Osling III 6-1 187 So.
37 Quentin Lake 6-1 185 So.
18 Octavius Spencer 5-11 180 Sr.
22 Nate Meadors 5-11 196 Sr.

While the secondary is certainly the most crowded position group on defense, I still think freshmen like Stephen Blaylock, Patrick Jolly, Elisha Guidry and possibly others could see playing time this season.

Projected Depth Chart

This position group is no different than the rest of the team when it comes to projecting a depth chart. It’s still a crap shoot. But, that doesn’t stop us from prediciting who the starters and second-string will be.

2018 Secondary 2-Deep Projected Depth Chart

Cornerback Safety Safety Cornerback
Cornerback Safety Safety Cornerback
Darnay Holmes Quentin Lake / Octavius Spencer Adarius Pickett Nate Meadors
Colin Samuel Keyon Riley Octavius Spencer / Quentin Lake Mo Osling III

It should be interesting to see if this is how the depth chart actually plays out or if some of the underclassmen start pushing the upperclassmen for playing time.

But, one thing is clear. This position group will need to play better than last season in order for the defense to meet Chip Kelly’s goal of UCLA becoming successful by playing good defense.

Go Bruins!!!