football

Going Camping: Running backs

UCLA
fall camp is just a few days away, and with that,
BruinSportsReport.com continues its Going Camping preview with the
running backs.
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2013 UCLA RUNNING BACKS AT A GLANCE
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PRE-CAMP DEPTH CHART
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1. Jordon James - 5-9, 193, RS
Junior
James gets the starting nod more or less by default. He didn't exactly
tear it up in the spring, but he was probably better than the rest of
the RBs on the board.
2. Paul Perkins - 5-10, 190,
RS Freshman
Perkins had a huge fall camp last season, and had a pretty good year on
the scout team. His spring ball was underwhelming, however, which
probably puts him below James on the depth chart heading into San
Bernardino.
3. Malcolm Jones - 6-0, 220,
Senior
Jones had a solid camp, and he maybe looked better than he did because
the rest of the RBs weren't performing up to par. He has a legitimate
shot at playing time this season if he can keep it up in August.
4. Craig Lee - 6-0, 188,
Freshman
Lee will have a tough time blocking at this level in his true freshman
season, but he could come to camp as one of the better running backs on
the roster. He has great vision and great burst, and if he carries over
his high school talent to Division I, he could be in the mix for
starter reps as well.
5. Steven Manfro - 5-9, 193, RS
Sophomore
Coming off a shoulder surgery, Manfro didn't get many reps in the
spring. He's ultra talented, but will likely be used more as a spell
RB, F-back and returner this season.
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BATTLE TO KEEP AN EYE ON
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it's the battle to see who will be UCLA's starter this season. As of
today, it looks like the Bruins will just use a committee approach,
because no one running back has emerged as a "carry-the-load" kind of
player. But this camp will go a long way to proving those statements as
fact or fiction. Seeing who gets the most reps, and seeing who does the
most with them, will maybe be the storyline of camp this August.
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PRESSURE IS ON...
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James. He's a very good practice player, almost always living up to his
"joystick" nickname. But in games, he never quite produced the same way
he did on Spaulding Field or even in San Bernardino. This year could be
the last year he has a chance to prove himself as the team's starter,
as Lee will be a year older, and five-star Joe Mixon could be on the
way as well.
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NEWCOMER TO WATCH
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Lee appears to have all his academic issues behind him, and looks set
to join the squad in time for fall camp. In high school, he was easily
one of the best running backs in the nation, and it will be fun to see
if that translates to UCLA in his true freshman season. If he can be as
good as advertised, UCLA may not have a problem at starting RB after
all.
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POSITION MVP
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may sound strange, but injured RB Damien Thigpen might just be the MVP
of this group. If healthy, he'd probably be the starter here and
atkick returner. But the little RB is still recovering from
an ACL injury that may sideline him for a few games this season.
Because of that, Jordon James is probably the de facto MVP of the RBs.
Going Camping Review
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