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 2017 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.
We'll start today with No. 31.
31. Mossi Johnson, Senior Safety
2016 Statistics (offense): 3 receptions, 55 yards, one touchdown
Why He's Important: Here's an interesting note about Mossi Johnson -- though he's a senior in 2017, he was part of Jim Mora's first recruiting class at UCLA in 2012. He tore up his knee badly prior to entering UCLA, and then tore his knee again in 2015, so he's missed close to two full years of football since leaving high school. He's been a wild one to follow over the years. If you remember, way back in 2013 and 2014, we were talking about Johnson as potentially one of the best offensive playmakers. While that didn't come to fruition, he has always flashed toughness, athleticism, and a natural feel for the game that has made him an intriguing prospect to evaluate for both coaches and observers.
Now, it looks like we're going to get a long look at him on defense. He started the spring splitting time at safety and at receiver, but before too much time passed he was playing exclusively at safety -- and he looked pretty natural there. Obviously, there's going to be a learning curve, as he has spent most of his UCLA career at slot receiver, but there's always been talk of moving him to defense, and they've even experimented a few times in the past there. Now, with a full spring under his belt more or less exclusively at safety, he looks poised to make an impact this year.
As it stands, he's expected to be in the second-string at safety, but we wouldn't be surprised if he's in a starting nickel group against more run-heavy teams, where he can pair up with fellow safety Adarius Pickett to give UCLA some real hitters. His age and leadership ability should also make him an important voice on the team, even if he isn't on the field every snap.
What's Been Said About Him:
"Mossi brings a tough guy type of mentality, a no-quit kind of attitude with everything he does. So it’s perfect for the defensive side of the ball." -- DB Coach Demetrice Martin, 4/19/2017
"I like him. I enjoy his spirit, I enjoy the way he comes out and gets guys going. He’s got a little something about himself. And we’re happy to have him over there." -- DC Tom Bradley, 4/20/2017
Most Recent Interview:
Top 30 Most Important Bruins:
|Rank||Name||Highest Rank||Lowest Rank|
|31||Mossi Johnson||23 (John Evergreen)||Unranked (4-way tie)|