UCLA football training camp breakdown: linebackers – Press Enterprise

UCLA football training camp breakdown: linebackers – Press Enterprise

UCLA had one of the youngest rosters in all of college football but were senior heavy at linebacker in 2019.

The Bruins lost six linebackers due to graduation, and along with it valuable leadership and playmakers.

Redshirt senior Leni Toailoa has taken on that leadership role this season. He played 11 games, with three starts, in 2019. Seven of his 33 tackles result in a loss of yardage.

Bo Calvert has also stepped up and is expected to be a starter. He played in one game, the season finale against Cal, after missing the first 11 games due to academic suspension.

Here’s a breakdown of where UCLA stands at linebacker:

Key returnees: Leni Toailoa (R-Sr.), Bo Calvert (Jr.), Shea Pitts (R-Jr.),

Key losses: Krys Barnes (ILB), Josh Woods (ILB), Lokeni Toailoa (ILB), Keisean Lucier-South (OLB), Elijah Wade (OLB)

Newcomers: Damian Sellers (Fr.), Caleb Johnson (R-Jr.), Kain Medrando (R-Fr.), Joquarri Price (Fr.), Jeremiah Trojan (Fr.), Kenny Mestidor (Fr.)

Biggest unanswered question: With a lot of new faces in the linebacker room this season, what to make of the depth remains unknown. Damian Sellers was the highlight of the Bruins’ 2020 recruiting class and could contribute early at outside linebacker.

“He’s one of those kids that will start at outside linebacker and see how Damian fits in terms of what we’re doing, but he certainly has a motor,” Coach Chip Kelly said in December. “He was a highly rated kid for a reason. He’s one of the top edge rushers in the country, and we’re really, really excited for him to be a part of this class.”

Caleb Johnson was considered a Top 5 JUCO prospect coming out of Fullerton College. The Vista Murrieta alumnus originally started the 2019 season on the University of Texas roster.

Toailoa also mentioned redshirt freshman Kain Medrano as a potential standout for the Bruins in the future. Medrano made the switch from receiver to linebacker this offseason.

“He looks like a natural,” Toailoa said. “… We just need him to keep running and growing.”

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