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October 06, 1994|JIM HODGES

As one of several freshmen getting playing time at UCLA, wide receiver Jim McElroy is more than pulling his weight.

That's one of his problems. He weighs only 147 pounds.

"I just can't seem to put any on," he said.

McElroy, who played at Washington High, impressed UCLA coaches with his speed in preseason practice, not his ability to catch the ball.

He dropped them all for a week, then caught a touchdown pass from reserve quarterback Rob Walker in a scrimmage and has caught most of the balls thrown to him since.

"It's a whole different world," he said of playing college football. "I couldn't wait to catch the football and put some moves on somebody, so I wasn't concentrating. Then Bryan Adams and Kevin Jordan talked to me about catching it first, and it made a difference."

McElroy has three receptions for 33 yards and ran a flanker reverse against Washington as the Bruins seek to find a way to use his speed. When a block was blown, McElroy was caught for a loss of 11 yards.

He also has begun returning kickoffs, subbing for Adams and pairing with Derek Ayers. Ayers caught all the kickoffs against Washington, which made McElroy a blocker.

"Those big guys think that us little guys won't hit," he said. "I'll hit."

But he would rather return the kicks.

"I'm just waiting for one to be kicked to me," he said. "I can see a seam already."


Look for Skip Hicks to get more playing time this week as the Bruins work him back into the running back rotation. Hicks carried twice for minus one yard against Washington in his first game of the season after recovering from knee surgery.

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