RB Soso Jamabo (Photo by Steve Cheng)

30 Most Important Bruins for 2016: No. 8 Soso Jamabo

July 25 -- Coming in at No. 8 in our countdown of the 30 most important Bruins is the guy we think will most likely replace Paul Perkins as the starting running back...

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. 8.

8. Soso Jamabo, Sophomore Running Back

2015 Statistics: 66 carries for 404 yards (6.1 yards per carry) and 4 touchdowns. 5 catches for 58 yards.

Why He's Important: Last year, Sotonye Jamabo had the second-most carries on the team behind Paul Perkins and the second-highest yards per carry average behind Nate Starks, and it was clear all year that he was just scratching the surface of his potential. Heck, throughout most of the year, we wrote that he didn't have a physical running style and would go down on first contact quite often. Despite that, and a propensity to dance behind the line of scrimmage especially at the beginning of the year, he put together a productive season that, statistically speaking, was a very good start to his college career.

The exciting thing with Jamabo is that we saw him start to run more physically as the year went on last year, and then this spring, he looked even better, showing more strength, more tenacity, and more decisiveness. He's a long strider, so his good speed can end up looking  a little deceptive, but he showed very good vision last year, which is always good to see in freshmen who are often panicking and miss open holes. His biggest issue was, like we said, a lack of decisiveness at times and an overall lack of physicality to his running style -- and at 6'3-ish and 210+ pounds, he'll need to be physical at the college level.

But we saw glimpses of it at the end of last year and into this spring, and if he combines a more tenacious running style with his prodigious athletic gifts, he will be a very tough package for opposing defenses to deal with. We have him picked higher than the other two running backs in contention for the starting job largely because we think he'll win it. Last year, when Starks looked like pretty obviously the more consistent back on the field, Jamabo still split carries with him, and given that Jamabo has improved since last season, it's pretty easy to see him getting the lion's share of the carries this season. As we wrote previously, all three are very good choices, but if we were putting money on it, we'd anticipate Jamabo starting at running back this year.

What's Been Said About Him:

"He is so explosive, you never know when his going to spin out of a tackle and break loose." -- RB Paul Perkins, October 29, 2015

Most Recent Interview:

30 Most Important Bruins for 2016

RankNameHighest RankLowest Rank
8 Soso Jamabo 7 (John Evergreen) 18 (Blair Angulo)
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)

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