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UCLA FOOTBALL

UCLA's Jake Dean to make EagleBank Bowl final game

The Bruins offensive lineman, who has a year of eligibility remaining, is expected to make his third consecutive start in place of Ryan Taylor, who is struggling with ankle and foot injuries.

December 18, 2009|By Chris Foster
  • UCLA offensive lineman Jake Dean.
UCLA offensive lineman Jake Dean. (UCLA )

Offensive lineman Jake Dean will make his last UCLA football moment a spotlight memory because he is on track to start the EagleBank Bowl on Dec. 29. Even though he has a year of eligibility remaining, he said this will be his final game.

It will be Dean's third consecutive start in place of right guard Ryan Taylor, who continues to struggle with ankle and foot injuries.

"Ryan is doubtful," Coach Rick Neuheisel said. "It is one of those things that has taken longer to heal. It's kind of a sprain where the toes spread apart and will need a long recovery time."

So offensive line coach Bob Palcic will stick with Dean.

Dean started seven games at center during the 2008 season. He did not play in 2006 or 2007, one of which he could claim as a redshirt year.

But Dean, who will graduate in the spring with a degree in history, decided to move on with his life.

"I'm happy with my career," he said. "I got to start the last two years, maybe not as much as I would have liked, but I have enjoyed every minute of it. I feel this is the right time for me. I got my degree, I gave the coaches everything I had and played wherever the coach asked me to play. I'm happy."

Meanwhile, Taylor was in uniform for practice much of this week but spent the time watching.

Prince does more

Quarterback Kevin Prince increased his workout Thursday, taking more reps with the first team while testing his injured right shoulder.

Neuheisel said he would likely have an idea whether Prince can play before the Bruins head to the nation's capital for the game against Temple.

"We'll watch, not just to see his velocity, but more the confidence," Neuheisel said. "We'll watch the willingness to let one go, knowing that's on the other side of that throw. Does he grimace?"

Prince has undergone extra treatments to loosen up his shoulder since being injured against USC on Nov. 28. He said he felt comfortable throwing the ball Thursday, except on one play.

"One throw I made today on the run absolutely killed it," Prince said. "But I just have to make every throw, not necessarily pain free, but with manageable pain. I need to do everything -- hand the ball off, going on the run, throwing deep balls, trying to put velocity on the ball without it hurting too much. Once I can do it without too much discomfort, I can play."

Smith takes rap

UCLA players were in the audience for the "Jay Leno Show" on Wednesday, with receiver Josh Smith getting a shot at a guest appearance.

Smith, who is a redshirt after transferring from Colorado, was volunteered by teammates to do a rap number during one of the commercial breaks.

"I had the crowd moving a little bit and we went through the whole commercial time," Smith said. "It was exciting, with the lights and camera on me."

It might get a little more exciting. Smith, who hopes to break into the music industry, said that show officials filmed his second song.

Ferguson to visit

Ego Ferguson, a defensive end from Chatham (Va.) Hargrave Military Academy, will take an official visit to UCLA in early January. Ferguson, who is 6 feet 3 and 272 pounds, is ranked third nationally at his position by Rivals.com. He also has visited California, Louisiana State and Notre Dame.

chris.foster@latimes.com

twitter.com/cfosterlatimes

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