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. 27.
27. Mike Fafaul, RS Senior Quarterback
2015 Stats: Completed 2 of 2 passes for 21 yards.
Why He's Important: Spoiler alert, guys -- Josh Rosen is going to be the No. 1 guy on this list, for all the obvious reasons. He's indispensable, with the kind of talent and ability that could mitigate any number of other offensive issues on the team. Keeping him healthy has to be the most important goal heading into the year.
But what if he does go down, either for a short time or a longer period? In that case, UCLA will need to see which of the backup quarterbacks can best fill his shoes. Will it be one of the true freshmen, Matt Lynch, Devon Modster, or even Dymond Lee? Or will it be the redshirt senior Mike Fafaul, who has been in the program for four years already and might be a steadying presence if called upon?
The best way to describe Fafaul is as a similar player to Jerry Neuheisel, though with a bit better arm and slightly worse decision making. He's mechanically sound, like Neuheisel, and, as an older guy, has a good understanding of even the new scheme, likely giving him a leg up on the freshmen.
We have to figure that Fafaul has the best shot at winning the backup job this year. Yes, in the event of an early season injury to Rosen that keeps him out a long time, we could see UCLA opting to develop a freshman, but barring that, we have to imagine that the more seasoned Fafaul will get the backup job for his senior season. So, effectively, we're picking Rosen's insurance policy as our No. 27 most important Bruin for 2016. A little morbid, maybe, but what are you gonna do?
What's Been Said About Him:
"I think we all have a little more confidence in Mike, this is his fourth spring and he's doing a hell of a job." -- Jim Mora, April 9, 2015
Top 30 Most Important Bruins:
|Rank||Name||Highest Rank||Lowest Rank|
|27||Mike Fafaul||11 (Tracy Pierson)||Unranked (3-way tie)|
|28||Josh Woods||23 (Blair Angulo)||Unranked (2-way tie)|
|29||Keisean Lucier-South||14 (Tracy Pierson)||Unranked (3-way tie)|
|30||Nate Meadors||20 (John Evergreen)||Unranked (2-way tie)|