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UCLA's Brett Hundley mulling over whether to declare for the NFL

Sophomore quarterback says he'll decide after the first of the year, but an NFL scout believes Hundley should get more experience with the Bruins.

December 18, 2013|By Chris Foster

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UCLA waited years to have some stability at quarterback. Brett Hundley has provided that.

The Bruins had seven quarterbacks make at least one start from 2007 to 2011. Hundley, a sophomore, will play in his 27th consecutive game in the Hyundai Sun Bowl.

Start No. 28 is up in the air.

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Hundley will decide after the first of the year if he's returning for his junior season or declare for the NFL draft.

Should Hundley go?

Can freshman Asiantii Woulard step into the role?

An NFL scout answered the first question. Some draft pundits have projected Hundley as a high first-round pick. The scout, who was not authorized to speak publicly on the matter, said Hundley should not get caught up in media speculation.

"He should stay," the scout said. "He needs that extra thousand live snaps he's going to get as a junior, to quicken his eyes and go through his reads in the pocket. He can hone in his accuracy and work on his timing."

The scout said Hundley clearly has the talent to be an NFL quarterback. But, he said, "he has not developed that talent yet. He would struggle to develop in the NFL. He is in the perfect environment to do that at UCLA."

If Hundley opted to test the NFL "the success/failure rate kind of shifts," the scout said. "It would help him long term, 10 years down the road, to stay in college right now."

If he doesn't, the Bruins would be left with only two quarterbacks on scholarship, Jerry Neuheisel and Woulard.

Woulard has spent the season working on the scout team. He has the skills and physical attributes to follow in Hundley's footsteps.

He is 6 feet 3 and 205 pounds and has a strong arm, which he showcased during training camp. He will be at the same stage of his career next spring as Hundley was when offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone was hired.

"When you compare them at that point in their careers, they are not too far apart," Mazzone said. "He's got the throwing ability, he's very talented there. He has the athletic ability, he can move. His whole thing is going to be how quickly he can intake information, process and react."

Hundley has been tutoring Woulard on that this season.

"He has been really involved in film room and on the field," Woulard said. "We'll put in new stuff that I haven't done, and I'm not really comfortable with yet. He'll stand behind me and remind me where to start my progression and the way to set the protection."

Mazzone said that experience is all Woulard lacks.

"He will get to the point where he starts believing in his athletic ability," Mazzone said. "He over-thinks some things, which is natural for a freshman. Things are moving a little fast for him now."

Things could move even faster if Hundley declares for the NFL.

"It won't make any difference for me this off-season," Woulard said. "I'm going to prepare like I'm the starter."

More honors

UCLA guard Xavier Su'a-Filo and Arizona State defensive tackle Will Sutton were the Morris Trophy winners, given to the best offensive and defensive linemen in the Pac-12 Conference.

Su'a-Filo is the fourth UCLA player to win the trophy, following David Ball (2003), Kenyon Coleman (2001) and Jonathan Ogden (2005).

Linebacker Anthony Barr was selected second-team All-American by the Football Writers Assn. of America.

chris.foster@latimes.com

Twitter: @cfosterlatimes

Times staff writer Sam Farmer contributed to this story.

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