As the UCLA football program prepares for the upcoming season, several players are poised to play crucial roles in the team’s success. In this article, we highlight the top five most important UCLA players heading into the 2023 season. These players have the potential to make a significant impact on the field and contribute to the team’s overall performance. With losing a lot of talent to draft, it’ll be up to these players to anchor the team this year, and in some cases the next few years.
The Most Important UCLA Players To Make This Season A Success
DE Laiatu Latu:
Laiatu Latu, a talented defensive end, enters the 2023 season as one of UCLA’s key defensive playmakers. Known for his explosive burst off the line of scrimmage and relentless pursuit of the quarterback, Latu has the ability to disrupt opposing offenses and create havoc in the backfield. His pass-rushing skills and ability to generate pressure will be vital for UCLA’s defensive success, as they look to shut down opposing offenses and control the line of scrimmage. Latu made a great return from injury last season totaling 10.5 sacks and is projected to be one of the top defensive players off the board in next year’s draft.
DE Gabriel Murphy:
Joining Latu on the defensive line is Gabriel Murphy, another impactful player who possesses great athleticism and a relentless motor. Murphy’s versatility allows him to line up at both defensive end and linebacker, providing flexibility for UCLA’s defensive schemes. His ability to generate pressure, set the edge against the run, and drop into coverage makes him a valuable asset to the Bruins’ defense. Murphy’s presence on the field will be crucial in disrupting opposing offenses and making game-changing plays. A key to this season will be the defense keeping opposing offenses stifled and the Murphy twins as well as Latu can do just that.
RB Carson Steele:
Carson Steele, a talented running back, will play a pivotal role in UCLA’s offensive attack in 2023. With the Ball State transfer’s combination of power, speed, and elusiveness, Steele has the potential to be a dynamic playmaker in the Bruins’ backfield. Joining a Chip Kelly offense that’s tailored to running the ball is beneficial as well. His ability to break tackles, find running lanes, and contribute to the passing game adds versatility to UCLA’s offense. Steele’s success in running the ball and providing a replacement for Zach Charbonnet will be pivotal for this season and possibly beyond.
J. Michael Sturdivant, a talented wide receiver, is expected to be a key target for UCLA’s passing game. He’s got some big shoes to fill with Jake Bobo and Kazmeir Allen off to the NFL. With his speed, agility, and precise route-running, Sturdivant has the potential to be a game-changer in the Bruins’ aerial attack. His ability to stretch the field and create separation will open up opportunities for big plays and provide a reliable option for the quarterback. Sturdivant’s contributions in the passing game will be instrumental in keeping the opposing defenses on their toes and keeping the chains moving.
QB Dante Moore:
Dante Moore, a highly touted quarterback recruit, enters the 2023 season with high expectations. Depending on if he starts or not will make a huge difference for this team. It’s also worth noting that the coaching staff might sit him till he gets comfortable and play Ethan Garbers instead to start off the year, similar to a rookie in the NFL. His strong arm, accuracy and football IQ make him a promising prospect. Moore’s possible ability to lead the offense, read defenses, and deliver accurate passes will be crucial for UCLA’s success. His development and performance will have a significant impact on the team’s overall offensive output.
As UCLA gears up for the 2023 season, the performances of these five players will play a vital role in the team’s success. These players’ contributions will be instrumental in UCLA’s quest for success in the upcoming season.