The Bruins came into camp with very few bumps or bruises, but some of their depth is being chipped away by the injury bug right now.
Tight end Carsen Ryan and linebacker Ale Kaho were the only players who appeared to be kept out of UCLA football practice last Saturday, just a day into camp. On day six, however, the injury area was much more densely populated.
In addition to Ryan and Kaho – who was no longer on his scooter, but still had a boot – offensive tackle Josh Carlin, receiver Bradley Schlom and running backs Deshun Murrell and Brian Kowall remained absent after bumped earlier in the week. Safety Kamari Ramsey was a new addition on Friday morning, and fellow freshman defensive back Croix Stewart joined after suffering some sort of injury just minutes after practice.
Ramsey was the No. 1 player in UCLA’s recruiting class of 2022, and he’s the highest-rated potential coach Chip Kelly brought out of high school since offensive tackle Sean Rhyan in 2019. Stewart was also the one of the top 75 players in California. , and it needed to bring some much-needed depth to the corner room.
Linebacker JonJon Vaughns nearly made it to the ever-increasing injury sideline after suffering a possible lower-body injury on a kickoff, but went just wide of the injury handover and drew the attention of a trainer on the fly before returning to drills.
As has been the case for a full week of practices, there was still no sign of linebacker Damian Sellers – who is not on the official roster – or tight end Mike Martinez.
It wasn’t all bad news on the injury front, however.
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Quarterback-turned-receiver Colson Yankoff had been injured since the middle of the 2021 season, and he had also missed most of spring camp. It looked like his bad luck would continue into the fall as he was sidelined for the Bruins’ first practice Aug. 5, but he’s back on the court and was seen running and catching passes Friday morning.
The media got one of their best looks at an offensive drill so far in camp, with the receivers actually running a few sets on the north court Friday. Volunteers and team managers were playing quarterback, so there was no close look at Dorian Thompson-Robinson & co., but receivers and defensive backs were in on some solid action.
A receiver would run into the flat on the right side, while another would block for them. Safety Kenny Churchwell III notably blasted a block from receiver Logan Loya, while cornerback Devin Kirkwood did a solid job sealing the edge and cutting the angle from a wide.
Receivers Kazmeir Allen and Josiah Norwood looked very fast, and both should have plenty of time in the slot. Allen has the ability to play the big game to line up elsewhere as well, but with Kyle Philips gone and plenty of runs to be won on table tricks and gimmick plays, he should take plenty of closer shots relatively frequently.
Allen was not in the kick returner group on Friday, with Kam Brown instead as the No. 1 man there. Freshman receiver Jadyn Marshall and walkout receiver Elijah Rodriguez were second and third in line, while Loya, Jax Harley and Christian Grubb were back in the end zone to call blocks.
There was also a new player wearing a blue No. 32 jersey, although no attacking player wearing that number is on the list. He ran with the long snappers, punters and kickers for most of the day, and could be either a late addition or a change in position.
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