RECORD LAST YEAR: 3-4 overall and in Pac 12
HEAD COACH (overall record, record at school): CHIP KELLY, (10-21 after three years at UCLA, 56-28 after seven years overall)
OFFENSE (10 returning starters): UCLA played an all Pac-12 opponents seven-game COVID-19 season schedule last season, and are finally showing signs of offensive life under head coach and alleged offensive genius Kelly. Senior DORIAN-THOMPSON ROBINSON has started 16 of 18 games the last two seasons. He has thrown for 5,131 career yards with 40 TDs and 20 interceptions and has 272 career rushing yards and 7 TDs. Thompson-Robinson will be working junior slot receiver KYLE PHILIPS, sophomore Texas A&M transfer wide receiver CAM BROWN and senior WR CHASE COTA (38 career catches for 518 yards and 3 TDs. Philips (66 career catches, 712 yards, 5 TDs) had 60 catches in 2019, the most ever by a UCLA freshman. The Bruins’ running game makeover features grad student BRITTAIN BROWN and junior ZACH CHARBONNET (Michigan). Brown, who transferred last season from Duke where he played in 25 games, ran for 543 yards and 4 TDs for the Bruins last season. All offensive line starters – two seniors and three juniors return. Left guard PAUL GRATTAN is easily the most grizzled veteran. He has 40 college starts including 33 in four seasons at Villanova before transferring to UCLA last year when he started all seven games.
DEFENSE (10 returning starters): In the last four seasons, UCLA’s rush defense has improved by an average of 151 yards per game. The Bruins return their top three tacklers from 2020, led by senior All-Pac 12 inside linebacker CALEB JOHNSON, who led the Bruins last season with 44 tackles and 5½ sacks and was second on the squad in tackles for loss at 7.0. Senior outside linebacker MITCHELL AGUDE is a definite disruptor who had 24 tackles a year ago, including 6 1/2 tackles for loss. Senior graduate student nickelback QWUANTREZZ KNIGHT is well-traveled, playing his first three seasons at Maryland, transferred to Kent State in 2019 and then to UCLA last season where he filled the stat sheet (40 tackles, 4½ for loss, fumble return for TD vs. Oregon. The entire secondary is filled with seniors, led by strong safety STEPHEN BLAYLOCK (108 career tackles including 42 last season with two interceptions) and QUENTIN LAKE (93 career tackles including 33 last season and 5 pass deflections). The defense will get a boost from transfers such as JORDAN GENMARK HEATH (42 tackles in three years at Notre Dame) and linebacker BRANDON KAHO (33 tackles in three seasons at Alabama).
SPECIALISTS (2 returning starters): Sophomores NICK BARR-MIRA and LUKE AKERS return as the starting placekicker and punter respectively. Barr-Mira hit 6 of 7 field goals (he made his first five attempts and 30 of 31 extra points in 2020. Akers averaged 43.1 yards per punt (landed 12 inside the 20).
IMPACT NEWBIE: Michigan junior transfer running back ZACH CHARBONNET has the size (6-1, 220 pounds) and the speed (his first carry last season was a 70-yard TD). He gained 850 yards and scored 12 TDs in his two seasons. His 11 TDs two seasons ago is the school record for TDs by a freshman.
UCLA has an 18-15-4 record against eight of the current 14 SEC schools it has played. The Bruins have a five-game winning streak vs. the SEC, its last win over Texas A&M in 2017.
Pac 12 championships: 7
Last Pac 12 championship: 1998
Pac 12 championship game record: 0-2
National championships: 1
Last national championship: 1954
Longest unbeaten streak: 20 games, 1997-98 ended by Miami
1st team All-Americans: 41
NFL 1st round draft choices: 36
No. of head coaches in last 20 seasons: 5
Overall record and Top 25 last 5 years: 22-38 (36.7), 0-3 (.000)
QUARTERBACK 6’1” 200 LBS SENIOR
Has quietly become one of the best QBs in Pac-12, earning All-Pac-12 second team honors in 2020 from the league coaches. He has passed for 5,131 career yards with 40 TDs and 20 interceptions. In last year’s COVID-19 abbreviated season, his pass efficiency rating of 156.29 was the highest by a Bruin quarterback starter since 2005 (Drew Olson). Set a school individual game total offense record in 2019 with 564 yards vs. Washington State.