LOS ANGELES — While Jim Mora’s team was still in the midst of its celebration on the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum field Saturday night, he made a big push to get his star quarterback, Brett Hundley, to stay for another season at UCLA.
“I tried to sucker him into it on the ESPN interview out there,” Mora said following Saturday night’s win over USC. “‘I said, ‘Let’s announce that you’re coming back.’ He said, ‘I’m not ready to do that yet.’ So we’ll see what happens.”
As a redshirt sophomore, Hundley is draft-eligible. And he’s expected to go high — late first round in some mock drafts and early-to-mid second round in most. Physically, his size, stature, speed and strength have the scouting world drooling. But he’s shown questionable decision-making and a questionable ability to read defenses at times, as was evidenced in the Bruins’ mid-season slump.
But he’s already been rumored to have talked with Roc Nation, rapper Jay-Z’s agency, and though Hundley and his family have adamantly denied the charges, the interest surrounding the QB is considerable.
Hundley has declined to comment, saying he will wait until after a bowl game.
“I’m just focused on the season,” Hundley said. “After the season, we will sit down and make a decision.”
Linebacker Anthony Barr had to make the same decision last season. Barr was projected to go as high as the top 10 after only one season of playing the position. But ultimately, Barr stayed for his senior season at UCLA and his stock has yet to drop. Barr is considered the top draft-eligible linebacker in college football, is a finalist for several prestigious awards and is still projected to go in the top 10.
“I’ll talk to him probably after the season,” Barr said. “He’s got to do what’s best for him, best for his family and best for his personal life.”
No regrets on staying at UCLA another season from Barr.
“I became a better player, a better leader,” Barr said. “And I just love my teammates, that’s one of the main reasons I came back.”
Should Hundley leave, he’ll never get another celebration like the one in the Coliseum again, and that’s something his head coach and teammates want him to think long and hard about.
“The allure and the money of the NFL, that’s great but there is nothing like a night like tonight,” Mora said. “You don’t get that in the NFL. You don’t get that when you leave this place so why rush through life and just enjoy every moment. All of that is going to be there for him later.”
He then joked with the reporters, telling us to make sure we all showed those comments to his quarterback.