UCLA Football: Bruin Graded 2nd Best In Nation By PFF

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The name Laiatu Latu is not new to any fan of UCLA Football, but it seems he is finally getting the recognition he deserves. Latu led all Power Five conference pass rushers in sacks with 13 on a top-10 NCAA defense. He led all Power Five edge defenders in pass-rush win rate (27%) and pressure rate (21.4%) this season. No Nagurski Trophy, no Bednarik Award. And some regard him as the 3rd best pass rusher in the 2024 draft class.

The draft consensus on Latu is he will go in the first round near pick 13. His highest mock draft has him going at pick 8 to Atlanta.

NCAA Football: UCLA at San Diego State
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UCLA Football Edge Rusher Top Graded Player Since 2014

Pro Football Focus may take issue with that stance based on their article ranking ‘The 101 best players in college football in 2023 by Max Chadwick and Dalton Wasserman.’ Latu came in second place, not among pass rushers, but among all college football players in the country, 21 places ahead of potential #1 draft pick and intra-city rival Caleb Williams of the USC Trojans.

PFF graded Latu’s 2023 performance as 96.3, not just the highest grade of all college football players of 2023, but the highest since PFF started grading players in 2014. The next best edge rusher was Chase Young with a grade of 96.0 from his 2019 season with the Ohio State Buckeyes.

NCAA Football: Senior Bowl Practice
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Can You Beat The Best Graded Player? Apparently.

So who could have edged out the UCLA edge rusher? LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels.

Chadwick and Wasserman on Daniels,

“Daniels led all quarterbacks with a 94.7 overall grade during a stellar Heisman-winning campaign. It was the highest quarterback grade since Mac Jones posted a 95.8 mark in 2020. Daniels nearly tripled his big-time throw rate from 2022 and finished his college career with the highest rushing grade by a Power Five quarterback in PFF history.”

Syndication: USA TODAY