With two months to go until the start of fall camp, we're going to count down our 30 most important UCLA players for the 2016 season. These are the players we think are going to have the most significant impact for UCLA this year, so don't take this to mean that these are the players we think are the best long-term prospects, or even necessarily the most talented. Every BRO staffer has ranked his top 30 UCLA players, and from that we've drawn an aggregate list.
Today we'll continue with No. 29.
29. Keisean Lucier-South, RS Freshman Defensive End
2015 Statistics: None (redshirted)
2014 Statistics (HS): 47 tackles, 7 sacks, 4 passes defended, 1 fumble recovery
Why He's Important: The 2015 season was UCLA's worst under Jim Mora, and there were many reasons for that. You could pin some of the blame on the inordinate amount of injuries to key players. You could also blame the offensive scheme that at times went far too conservative and predictable. If you don't look closely, you might also decide to blame UCLA breaking in a freshman quarterback.
But, in addition to all of that, you can also blame UCLA's lack of a pass rush. UCLA ranked 78th in the country in sack percentage last year, putting the Bruins 10th in the Pac-12. If it hadn't been for an out-of-nowhere seven sacks from Aaron Wallace, the Bruins would have been in the bottom quarter of all college football teams. As it was, the Bruins were decidedly mediocre, and with a passive scheme that all too often required excellent coverage in the secondary, not having a consistent pass rush from the front four was a huge problem.
UCLA changed schemes in the offseason, opting for a 4-3 as its base defense, and that should allow other players to shine. One guy we liked quite a bit in the spring was redshirt freshman Keisean Lucier-South, who now has an obvious position in this defense at defensive end. Like Deon Hollins, he has a very quick first step, but unlike Hollins, he's a long athlete at all of 6'5 or so, and he's put some muscle on his frame. He looks like he's probably north of 230 pounds now, and if he can get up to 240 or so, he could provide a significant presence on the edge.
We don't see Lucier-South starting this year, since he probably doesn't have the bulk against the run that UCLA wants this year. But he very clearly should have a role in the defense, and if he can translate some of his practice performance to the field this year, he could give the Bruins some real production as a pass rusher.
What's Been Said About Him:
“I mean there’s times where he flashes and you look out there and (say), ‘Well, wait a second – that was A.B. (Anthony Barr).' He's showing a lot of that same stuff." -- Scott White, August 17, 2015.
Most Recent Interview:
Top 30 Most Important Bruins
|Rank||Name||Highest Rank||Lowest Rank|
|29||Keisean Lucier-South||14 (Tracy Pierson)||Unranked (3-way tie)|
|30||Nate Meadors||20 (John Evergreen)||Unranked (2-way tie)|