UCLA’s #24s Update

I posted about the two guys wearing number 24 for the UCLA Bruins a couple of months back. Since that time, number 24 on the UCLA defense, Ishmael Adams, changed his number to 1.

Paul Perkins is still number 24 on the Bruin offense and is having a break out season.

Ishmael Adams is having a bit of an All American type season himself. Not only as a Cornerback, but as a return man as well.

In the season’s opener against Virginia, Adams took a punt all the way back for a Touchdown. It was called back because a teammate lost his helmet on the play and put it back on and tried to finish doing his job.

Maybe in the off season, the NCAA will wake up and figure out that this new helmet rule is pretty ridiculous and change it back to the way it was.

Obviously, Ishmael Adams was disappointed. But, UCLA coach Jim Mora said he would get another score.

Within a few minutes, Mora looked to be a prophet because Adams intercepted a pass off of the Virginia Quarterback and took it back for a Touchdown.

Adams has 2 interceptions on the season and both were returned for Touchdowns. The first was a 20 yard return against Virginia, but the last one was a 95 yard return against conference rival Arizona State. The Arizona State Sun Devils were driving to end the first half with the Bruins up 20-17 and a possible Sun Devil lead or a tie going into the locker room. Adams’ 95 yard interception return to end the first half took the wind out of Arizona State’s sails and made it 27-17.

Adams has excelled on Kickoff and Punt returns and took one Kickoff 100 yards for a Touchdown against Arizona State. The Sun Devils had worked so hard and closed the gap in the game to 34-20 and Ishmael Adams’ 100 yard return took the wind right out of them once again.

But, what’s more is that the return was possibly as impressive to watch return I have ever seen as a football fan. Most of the time a really fast guy just bursts through an open hole and shows great speed and takes it the distance. But, this one was bobbing and weaving and following blockers and he made several moves on defenders and just burst through when he finally found a hole.

It was a beautiful thing to watch and Ishmael Adams might be one of the better return guys to come around in a while.

 

In the Texas game, it was Ishmael Adams’ punt return that set up the Bruins to score the winning Touchdown. The UCLA players could have just as easily carried Ishmael Adams off the field as they did Jerry Neuheisel. UCLA players might should have chanted ‘Ishmael, Ishmael, Ishmael,’ instead of ‘Jerry, Jerry, Jerry’.

 

 

Adams has 15 tackles on the year, but teams are wisely going to avoid him in future games.

Ishmael is a great Cornerback, obviously, but he brings just as much to a team with his return skills. He is just 5-8, 190 and a junior out of Woodland Hills, California, so he is on the smaller side which could cost him on draft day. As NFL receivers keep getting taller, they are going after taller Defensive Backs as well.

I will be interested to see what time he runs in the electronic 40 yard dashes in front of NFL scouts. The kid can fly and he is a difference maker.

Paul Perkins ran for 573 yards in 2013 and he averaged 4.3 yards per carry.

The nephew of former Dallas Cowboys great of the 1960s Don Perkins, Perkins has turned it up a couple of notches in 2014.  This season, Perkins has 441 yards after just 4 games and is averaging 5.7 yards per carry.

Perkins had 80 yards rushing against a surprisingly stout Virginia defense in the opening game. He had 98 yards against Memphis and 2 Touchdowns.

Then, against Texas, he ran wild and for a career high 126 yards.

His career high lasted all of one week, as he hit 137 yards rushing against conference rival Arizona State on just 14 carries.

Perkins is on pace for well over 1,300 yards on the season in his sophomore season.

What drew me to Perkins in the first place was his pass blocking. He seemed to have a knack last season to pick up the blitz and UCLA coaches would have him in the game in those situations where he could help his Quarterback out. That was especially important last season because UCLA had several freshmen playing in the Offensive Line.

This season, Perkins is not only adept at picking up blitzes, but he has turned into a big play maker somewhat like his defensive buddy, Ishmael Adams. He is a difference maker with a long run of 58 yards against Texas and a long 81 yard run against Arizona State.

 

UCLA moved to 4-0 and 1-0 in the Pac 12 standings on Thursday night. Adams and Perkins were not the only reasons that the Bruins are 4-0, but they are a large part of it.

 

It will be interesting as the season progresses to follow these two and see how things play out.

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