Two-way players aren’t common in major college football and it’s ever rarer to find a freshman willing to play - and play well - on both sides of the ball.
That’s why what UCLA linebacker Myles Jack did during the Bruins 31-26 win against Arizona on Saturday was so impressive.
Jack had already established himself as a defensive star through the Bruins’ first eight games and continued that trend with eight tackles and a fumble recovery against the Wildcats.
But in his offensive debut, Jack rushed six times for 120 yards, including a 66-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter to give the Bruins their final score.
“It’s remarkable, but it doesn’t surprise me,” UCLA coach Jim Mora said. “I’ve been fortunate to know this young man since he was about 12 years old. I don’t think that anything he’s ever done or is going to do is gonna surprise me.”
Playing on both sides of the ball is nothing new to Jack.
As a senior at Bellevue High, Jack had 21 sacks and averaged 19 yards per carry. And he didn’t really need any reminding how to rush the ball on Saturday. When he got his first touch, he rushed 29 yards.
And he only had three days worth of offensive reps in practice.
Jack’s emergence couldn’t have come at a better time for the Bruins, which are trying to stay in the hunt for a Pac-12 South title (even if it might be a longshot). Running back Jordon James missed the game with an ankle injury while Steven Manfro also missed the game because of injury.
Jack wasn’t the only UCLA player to play both offense and defense on Saturday, but he was the most dynamic and the most memorable. He’ll be key for the Bruins down the stretch and since it’s late in the season, he might be fresh enough to finish the year as one of the Bruins best players on defense and offense.
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