Since before he stepped foot on campus, quarterback Brett Hundley was tabbed the savior of the UCLA Football program. Judging by what he has meant to this team the last two seasons, I’d say he’s lived up to the billing and done an admirable job. With Hundley the obvious starter, let’s analyze some of his strengths and weaknesses, as well as going over the two quarterbacks vying to become his eventual successor.
Brett Hundley is a the new-age prototypical NFL quarterback, equipped with all the physical tools to be a star at the next level. Teams across the league are eagerly anticipating his arrival which is assured to happen after this upcoming season. Hundley has a very strong, accurate arm, above average speed and elusiveness inside and outside the pocket that absolutely terrorizes defenses. He is also very intelligent, which bodes very well when he will be interviewed by teams next year. This year Hundley has a great shot at being in the running to win the Heisman Trophy, which is awarded to the nation’s top player, he also has a chance to lead the Bruins to a Pac-12 championship and a major bowl game.
Along with Hundley’s strengths there are definitely improvements to be made, which makes his decision to return to the college game this year seemingly the right decision. Hundley has the tendency to hold onto the ball too long, stare down his initial target and fails to properly check the ball down. This leads to some head scratching decisions, and missed open receivers.
When he takes off running he also needs to learn to slide before he takes a big shot. He may be able to sustain those hits now, however at the next level, those shots can lead to serious injuries which a team can ill-afford to their franchise quarterback. Hundley should have a big year for the Bruins this year in closing out a tenure which saw him revive a struggling program to once again a national power.
On the depth chart, Hundley is followed by two talented quarterbacks in Asiantii Woulard and Jerry Neuheisel, son of former UCLA quarterback and most recently former head coach Rick Neuheisel. Both quarterbacks have been in stiff competition this spring with each having their moments and their struggles.
Asiantii Woulard is a redshirt freshman out of Winter Park High in Florida. Woulard came in highly touted as the number one dual threat quarterback out of high school and winner of the MVP award at the Nike Elite Eleven camp run by Trent Dilfer. Woulard is believed by many to be nearly a clone of Brett Hundley’s play style. Strong arm, quick, elusive runner with the ball, and very good speed. Woulard has had a tough time this spring with his pocket presence and accuracy. He is still however believed to be the heir apparent to the starting position next year even if he does not win the backup role this season.
Jerry Neuheisel, as noted, is the son of former Bruins quarterback and head coach Rick Neuheisel. He is an intelligent quarterback, and being a coach’s son, that is not difficult to believe. Neuheisel also has a very accurate arm with proper mechanics. His downfall may be his lack of athleticism at the position. He has looked strong this spring, especially in the annual Spring Showcase which was held two Saturdays ago, keying two big scoring drives in the first half of the game. Neuheisel could find himself in the immediate back up quarterback role this season as he is a safe bet to come in and execute the offense with mistakes at a minimum in the event of his services being necessary.
UCLA finds itself in a position with these three quarterbacks all being capable of production in the event they would be needed. It is not likely to see any of the two back ups unless in mop up situations, but the immediate future looks strong at the quarterback position for the Bruins.