As UCLA season opener nears, keep an eye on these players
AUG 19, 2014 12:06p ET
UCLA concluded its fall camp in San Bernardino and now back in Westwood to prepare for the season-opener at Virginia. There were a few surprising stars and a few looking to pick up right where they left off.
Here's who stood out in San Bernardino and who to look for as practices are underway in Los Angeles.
OL Najee Toran
Undersized but with the motor to make up for it, the freshman lineman out of Houston says he's a tough out for any defensive lineman. He's just 6-3, 267, but Toran's teammates were shocked at how the good-natured lineman has such a mean streak on the field.
"Being my height, my size and my weight, you've got to be physical because you're going to get pushed around," Toran said. "You ain't going to just push me around, you're going to have to fight. I don't let people just punk me like that, I like to make people look stupid and make them look weak."
Toran surpassed sophomore Scott Quessenberry and seems to have locked up a spot on the first team. It's the work he put in during spring ball that brought him up to speed so quickly. Look for Toran to start at guard against Virginia.
LB Kenny Young
Last season, Myles Jack was the stud in San Bernardino. This season, Jack says it's Louisiana linebacker Kenny Young who has taken his place as the linebacker to beat in camp.
"I wouldn't say that somebody is the Myles Jack of the camp, I would say the Kenny Young of the camp is Kenny Young," Jack said. "He looks like he has a good chance to steal a spot. We're still shuffling people but I really like what I've seen from him."
Young surprised people on signing day when he spurned the SEC and Big 12 to sign with the Bruins. Mora said he's played in some of the most difficult camp circuits against some of the country's top talent. With a few key linebackers, like Anthony Barr and Jordan Zumwalt now in the NFL, the door is wide open for Young, Aaron Wallace and another highly-touted freshman in Zach Whitley.
But it's Young who has turned the most heads so far with his fundamental grasp on the position and dedicated work ethic.
"He's definitely the MVP of the camp in my book," Jack said.
DB Fabian Moreau
Head coach Jim Mora is convinced that this season will be a breakout one for defensive back Fabian Moreau. It appeared to look that way after a particularly heated battle between himself and receiver Devin Lucien during the first week of practices.
Moreau completely blanketed the dynamic Lucien, matching him step-for-step and smothering every jump.
Now a junior, Moreau played in 12 games last season, primarily as a corner back, recording 58 tackles while breaking up four passes and defending four more. Moreau's presence won't just add depth - along with senior Anthony Jefferson, the veteran duo will anchor a secondary that looks every bit as loaded as it did two years ago, if not more so.
WR Logan Sweet
For the second year in a row, Logan Sweet has had a fantastic camp. Strong sideline runs, smooth one-handed catches - the sparsely used receiver might have finally played himself into some significant time in his redshirt-junior season.
"Love my guy Sweet," offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone said. "He's really come a long ways from two years ago when we got here and he's really going to figure in with those top four-five guys on the outside spots."
Never in his career has Sweet complained about a lack of playing time, and Mazzone said he's happy to finally reward the work Sweet has put in.