For the third time in four days, UCLA lost a junior starter to the NFL Draft as an early entry. Today, Caleb Benenoch, UCLA's starting right tackle and a versatile player who can slot in at both guard and tackle, announced that he will forgo his senior season and enter the NFL Draft.
Benenoch was arguably the best offensive lineman on the team through the first four games of the season, when he was playing primarily right tackle, but had to begin filling in at other positions as injuries and other issues affected the rest of the offensive line. His versatility could make him an attractive option in the Draft for NFL teams looking for players who can slide in at multiple positions.
The junior was a three-year starter for UCLA, and despite some nagging injuries in his career, he displayed excellent toughness and a competitive streak, playing through some nicks and bruises that would have sidelined other players.
His fellow junior offensive lineman Alex Redmond has already made the decision to leave school to try his hand in the NFL, but Benenoch projects as a much more likely draftable prospect. It still remains to be seen what redshirt junior left tackle Conor McDermott decides to do in terms of the Draft as well.
UCLA has already seen the departure of junior nose tackle Kenneth Clark, who announced his decision on the 28th on Twitter, and Paul Perkins, who announced his decision on the 29th. Besides all of those linemen and Perkins, there's a chance Thomas Duarte could also leave early. Myles Jack, like Redmond, already left the team earlier this year to pursue his NFL goals.
At this point, with five players already deciding to leave early, this will be the biggest mass junior departure for UCLA in a very long time.