University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Bruins
Herbert Hoover High School
OVERVIEWIt appears that National Football League general managers that let Mychal Kendricks slip through their grasp into the arms of the Philadelphia Eagles in the second round of the 2012 draft will get a “do over” in 2015, as the equally productive open-field tackler and Mychal’s “baby brother,” Eric, is about to embark on what he hopes will be a career to match his older sibling.
Many teams considered Mychal undersized when he was available in the draft, but since the Eagles wisely selected him, he has started 40-of-42 games, recording 333 tackles (243 solos) with nine sacks and three interceptions in three professional seasons. The two brothers boast solid football bloodline, as their father, Horace (Marv), was a former tail-back for the UCLA Bruins (led the team in rushing in both 1970 and ’71) before going on to play in the Canadian Football League.
Eric Kendricks collects tackles like most kids collect baseball cards. With 150 tackles as a sophomore, 106 during an injury-shortened 2013 campaign and 149 hits last season, he joins safety Don Rogers (143 in 1983; 124 in 1982; 133 in 1981) and linebacker Jerry Robinson (161 in 1978; 147 in 1977; 159 in 1976) as the only Bruins to ever lead the team in tackles three seasons. Only six other UCLA players managed to lead the team twice in tackles during a career.
Kendricks established the school’s career record with 482 tackles, becoming the 15th player in Pac-12 Conference history to register at least 450 hits during a career. Among active NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision players, his 482 total tackles and 307 solo stops lead that contingent. His average of 9.27 total tackles per game rank fifth and his average of 5.90 solo stops per game rank second among active performers.
Kendricks has also etched his name into the NCAA FBS all-time record book – holding the ninth spot with 482 total tackles and ranking fifth with 307 solos. His average of 5.90 solo tackles per game is 13th-best by an FBS performer. His 101 solo tackles in 2014 tied for 25th on the NCAA season-record list.
Born on February 29th, the “Leap Year Baby” is hoping his next leap is into a starting position in the NFL. Teams recognize that while he lacks ideal height, the Bruins linebacker is very active and mobile, the type that maintains excellent leverage. He is a physical tackler, evident by his 307 initial hits, but he is also savvy enough to know how to slip by blockers operating inside the box to close on the ball carrier. He is also very active with his hands, executing a variety of moves to push back the pass protector, as he generates the burst to be effective penetrating the backfield on the blitz.
At Hoover High School Kendricks lettered three seasons as a linebacker, quarterback, running back, kicker and punter. Rated the 42nd-best middle linebacker nationally by Scout.com, that recruiting service also regarded him as the 88th-best player in the state of California.
He served as team captain his junior and senior seasons, recording 85 tackles with two sacks on defense, scoring 10 times on offense in 2008.
As a senior, he registered 117 tackles and two interceptions. He also scored fourteen touchdowns on offense in 2009 to pick up first-team all-league defense accolades from the Fresno Bee. He also earned multiple letters in basketball (team captain and first-team all-league in 2009) and baseball (first-team all-league in 2009 and '10). He was named his school’s 2010 Male Tri-Athlete of the Year.
Kendricks enrolled at his father’s university in 2010, but the Outstanding Scout Team Player Award recipient did not play with the varsity. After coming off the bench for the first 11 games as a Bruin, the weak-side inside linebacker would go on to start the final 41 appearances for UCLA. Even with just three starting assignments in 2011, he made a strong impression, as the Academic All-Pac-12 Conference pick ranked second on the team with 77 tackles.
Even though Kendricks amassed a career-high 150 tackles, third-best in a season by a Bruin, his 2012 performance saw him receive only All-Pac 12 Conference honorable mention. He was a key to several victories, killing one scoring drive with a pass theft, causing two fumbles and recovering three others, returning two of those turnovers for touchdowns.
The injury bug hampered Kendricks throughout his junior season. He dealt with a shoulder sprain, ankle injury and back bruise. He did not play vs. Colorado due to a back injury and later underwent surgery on his right ankle at the end of the regular season, causing him to miss the Sun Bowl vs. Virginia Tech. He still managed to lead the team with 106 tackles, making four stops behind the line of scrimmage in eleven appearances.
Back at weak-side linebacker, Kendricks enjoyed an injury-free campaign in 2014, as he led the team with 149 tackles, as his average of 11.46 stops per game placed sixth in the nation. He registered a career-high 11.5 stops behind the line of scrimmage en route to becoming the first Bruin to win the Butkus Award, given to the nation’s top linebacker.
Kendricks appeared in 52 games, starting his final 41 appearances at weak-side inside linebacker…Holds the school record with 482 tackles (307 solos), adding 10 sacks for minus 60 yards, 26.0 stops for losses of 92 yards and a pair of quarterback pressures, as he also caused four fumbles and recovered four others, advancing two for touchdowns…
Deflected eleven passes, blocked two kicks and intercepted five throws for 71 yards in returns, including one touchdown.
NCAA Career-Record Results…Kendricks became the 10th player in NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision history to record 475 tackles during a career, ranking ninth with 482 hits…Is one of just six FBS players to register at least 300 solo tackles (307), joining Rod Davis of Southern Mississippi (360; 2000-03), Tim McGarigle of Northwestern (319; 2002-05), Matt Pusateri of Miami, Ohio (313; 2001-04), E.J. Henderson of Maryland (308; 2000-02) and Dexter Reid of North Carolina (304; 2000-03)…Among active FBS performers, Kendricks leads that group with 482 total tackles and 307 initial hits…His average of 5.9 solo tackles per game is second-best and his average of 9.27 total tackles per game is seventh.
NCAA Season-Record Results…Kendricks’ 101 solo tackles in 2014 tied Nick Greisen of Wisconsin (2001), Michael Boley of Southern Mississippi (2003), Orie Lemon of Oklahoma State (2010), Taylor Reed of Southern Methodist (2010) and Ryan Shazier of Ohio State (2013) for 25th on the FBS season-record list.
Pac-12 Conference Career-Record Results…Kendricks’ 482 total tackles rank 11th on the conference all-time record list…Has three defensive touchdowns in his career, one shy of the school record held jointly by Alterraun Verner (2006-09) and Spencer Havner (2001-05).
School Career-Record Results…Kendricks’ 482 tackles topped the previous UCLA record of 468 by Jerry Robinson (1975-78). The only other UCLA players to record 400 tackles were Don Rogers (405; 1980-83) and Spencer Havner (402; 2002-05).
School Season-Record Results…Kendricks ranks third and fourth on the UCLA annual record list with 150 tackles in 2012 and 149 more in 2014, topped by only Jerry Robinson (161 in 1978 and 159 in 1976)…With a team-best 106 tackles in 2013, Kendricks became just the third Bruin to lead the team in tackles three times, joining safety Don Rogers (143 in 1983; 124 in 1982; 133 in 1981) and linebacker Jerry Robinson (161 in 1978; 147 in 1977; 159 in 1976) as the only Bruins to ever lead the team in tackles three seasons. Only six other UCLA players managed to lead the team twice in tackles during a career.