Myles Jack emerging as CFB’s new superstar

PASADENA, Calif. — Move over Johnny Football, there’s a new college football superstar ready to take your place in the spotlight. His name is Myles Jack.

The UCLA linebacker-turned-running back stated his case for the title of the best in college football Friday night at the Rose Bowl with a four-touchdown, five-tackle performance in the 13th-ranked Bruins’ 41-31 win over Washington.

In just two games running the ball, Jack has racked up 179 yards and five touchdowns and still managed to play nearly every defensive down as well. He’s left his defenders in the dust and his teammates in awe.

“This is a big claim, but overall I think he is the best football player in the country,” said defensive end Cassius Marsh. “He does it on defense like I’ve never seen anybody else do it. Offense, he’s shown everybody how explosive he can be. I just don’t think there’s anything that kid can’t do.”

“Myles Jack is the best player in the world,” proclaimed wide receiver Devin Lucien.
 
Jack’s play not only highlighted a wild game, but it was historic as well. He became the first UCLA player in nine years to rush for four touchdowns in a game. Maurice Jones-Drew was the last Bruin to match the feat, doing so against the Huskies in 2004. It was just one shy of Jones-Drew’s all-time record of five.

This time, it was Jack’s turn for awe.

“Wow really?” Jack said. “Maurice Jones-Drew was my idol back in my running back days. That’s kind of crazy.”

What’s kind of crazy is the fact that Jack is right back in the midst of those running back days once again. Jack finished with 59 yards on 13 carries and through two games in the position, has lost only a single yard.

Paul Perkins led the Bruins with 86 rushing yards and Malcolm Jones netted 61. UCLA (8-2, 5-2) rushed for 222 total yards and a revitalized offense that looked so bad last month seems to be back on track with the aid of players like Jack.

All week head coach Jim Mora maintained that Jack is, and will remain, a linebacker. But Mora and the rest of the coaches now have a difficult choice to make after another dominating performance by the Jack-of-all-trades and a thinned running back corps.

“It’s kind of a dance,” Mora said. “Myles is a weapon. Like I said last week, you can’t just go crazy with it. The guy is an outstanding linebacker, and he’s as good as you’ll find in America, especially for a freshman. That’s where he loves to play and where we want to play him.

“But we are going to continue to use him.”

In the fourth quarter he was shaken up on a defensive play after he appeared to be kicked in the head. He did not return and it showed the high-risk, high-reward nature of the situation.

“This is what I get told (by Mora): You can use him this much,” offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone said. “So I use him this much.”

Mora assured that Jordon James and Damien Thigpen will be back for next week’s game against No. 19 Arizona State, but Steven Manfro is still down with an injury and a very woozy-looking Jones was carted to the locker room during the third quarter and his status is still unknown.

“They called upon me to fill that void and I’m not going to say no to the team,” Jack said.

The Huskies (6-4, 3-4) kept the game close until the fourth quarter, when a Jordan Zumwalt interception sealed the game for the Bruins. Huskies quarterback Keith Price, a local product out of Compton who prepped at St. John Bosco, went down with a shoulder injury in the second quarter and was replaced by Cyler Miles.