With under one month 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. 9.
9. Fabian Moreau, RS Senior Cornerback
2015 Statistics: 8 tackles, 1 pass breakup (only played 3 games).
2014 Statistics: 53 tackles, 8 passes defended
Why He's Important: Last year, Fabian Moreau was one of those critical injuries at the beginning of the year that played a big part in UCLA's ineptitude on defense last year. When he went down with a Lisfranc fracture, derailing his senior season, UCLA was forced into triage mode at cornerback which, thankfully, didn't turn out too badly, considering that Johnny Johnson and Nathan Meadors both eventually emerged as legitimate contributors in Moreau's absence.
That said, getting a fully healthy Moreau back could prove significant to UCLA's defensive quality this season. Meadors, though he acclimated well to having to play considerably last year, is still relatively green, and could use another year of backing up before he's thrown into the fire as a starter. Johnson, for his part, is always at risk for re-injuring his shoulders. Moreau's return to full health would take a lot of the pressure off those two players, which is obviously beneficial.
From a physical perspective, Moreau probably has the best set of tools among the quarterbacks, with great anticipation, excellent make-up speed, and the experience of going against Pac-12 receivers for the last four years. True, he hasn't put it all together in a season to this point, and there's certainly no way to discount those who think of him simply as a practice all-star, but we saw flashes before he went down last year that he might be putting the pieces together. The biggest issue with him was a lack of elite awareness and inability to play the ball in the air, but if he can figure that out, which we saw glimpses of last year, he could quickly become a top-level Pac-12 corner thanks to his physical tools.
Keeping him healthy is going to be critical though. Foot injuries can turn into chronic issues, and while we've heard that he's healthy heading into fall camp, there's always the risk of some sort of re-injury. If he can stay healthy, though, UCLA suddenly looks to have one of the deeper secondaries in the Pac-12.
What's Been Said About Him:
"I wanted to see him fine tune some of the little things that he didn't recognize was wrong with his game. I call him a Cadillac, he's such a smooth guy, sometimes he feels like he's in a great position and then it looks like he laxes. He's running stride for stride and then his feet stop. He's doing better though." -- DB Coach Demetrice Martin, April 14, 2015
Most Recent Interview:
30 Most Important Bruins for 2016
|Rank||Name||Highest Rank||Lowest Rank|
|9||Fabian Moreau||4 (John Evergreen)||22 (Dave Woods)|
|10||Nate Iese||7 (Blair Angulo)||Unranked (Tracy Pierson)|
|11||Ishmael Adams||8 (Dave Woods)||22 (John Evergreen)|
|12||Eli Ankou||10 (2-way tie)||21 (Dave Woods)|
|13||Isaako Savaiinaea||11 (John Evergreen)||27 (Dave Woods)|
|14||Eldridge Massington||8 (Blair Angulo)||26 (Tracy Pierson)|
|15||J.J. Molson||9 (Blair Angulo)||21 (2-way tie)|
|16||Nate Starks||14 (Dave Woods)||22 (Blair Angulo)|
|17||Jaleel Wadood||6 (John Evergreen)||30 (Tracy Pierson)|
|18||Kenny Young||13 (Tracy Pierson)||Unranked (Blair Angulo)|
|19||Theo Howard||14 (John Evergreen)||24 (2-way tie)|
|20||Matt Dickerson||15 (John Evergreen)||29 (Tracy Pierson)|
|21||Randall Goforth||12 (John Evergreen)||29 (Blair Angulo)|
|22||Austin Kent||17 (Blair Angulo)||30 (John Evergreen)|
|23||Bolu Olorunfunmi||13 (Dave Woods)||Unranked (Blair Angulo)|
|24||Deon Hollins||15 (Tracy Pierson)||Unranked (Dave Woods)|
|25||Darren Andrews||12 (Tracy Pierson)||Unranked (2-way tie)|
|26||Kenny Walker||13 (Blair Angulo)||Unranked (2-way tie)|
|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)|