Tuesday, November 12

4 UCLA football players in contention for 5 NCAA awards


Junior defensive back Darnay Holmes was one of four Bruins named to five of the 16 NCAA preseason watchlists. Holmes earned a spot on the watchlist for the Paul Hornung Award, given to the most versatile player in collegiate football. (Liz Ketcham/Photo editor)

Junior defensive back Darnay Holmes was one of four Bruins named to five of the 16 NCAA preseason watchlists. Holmes earned a spot on the watchlist for the Paul Hornung Award, given to the most versatile player in collegiate football. (Liz Ketcham/Photo editor)


Sixteen preseason watchlists for NCAA football were announced in July, and Bruins are on five of them.

Four UCLA football players were slated as players in contention for 2019-2020 awards. Rising redshirt senior running back Joshua Kelley was the only Bruin named to two watchlists – the Maxwell Award for college football player of the year and the Doak Walker Award for the NCAA’s premier running back.

Kelley’s 1,243 rushing yards last season – including six 100-yard rushing games – placed him 10th all time in UCLA history. The then-redshirt junior ranked ninth in the NCAA with 113 yards per game and 18th with 130.55 all-purpose yards per game.

Rising redshirt junior tight end Devin Asiasi, rising senior offensive lineman Boss Tagaloa and rising junior defensive back Darnay Holmes joined Kelley on the preseason watchlists.

Asiasi is on the watchlist for the John Mackey Award for best tight end in college football after leading UCLA with 21.7 yards per catch in 2018 and logging five catches of 20 yards or more.

Last year, then-redshirt junior tight end Caleb Wilson was listed on the preseason watchlist before eventually becoming a semi-finalist for the John Mackey Award. Wilson was selected in the seventh round of the 2019 NFL draft.

The Rimington Trophy committee named Tagaloa to the watchlist for the Rimington Trophy, which is awarded to the most outstanding center. Tagaloa started the last nine games for the Bruins last season after playing his first two-plus seasons in Westwood as a defensive lineman.

Holmes was placed on the watchlist for Paul Hornung Award for the most versatile player in college football. In 2018, the then-sophomore led the Bruins with three interceptions as a cornerback, averaged 35.8 yards per kickoff return and ranked fifth on the team with 48 tackles.

As a cornerback, Holmes was also named an honorable mention to the College Football News Preseason All-America team.

A UCLA player hasn’t won any of the 12 NCAA awards since 2015 when Ka’imi Fairbairn clinched the Lou Groza Award in 2015.

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Assistant Sports editor

Dzwonczyk is currently an assistant Sports editor for the women's basketball, women's soccer, beach volleyball, men's golf and women's golf beats. She was previously a reporter on the women's soccer, beach volleyball and women's tennis beats.


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  • Richard C

    The Lou Groza Award is mentioned at the end of the story, which was started in 1992 by the Palm Beach County Sports Commission and named after the legendary Cleveland Browns kicker/offensive tackle. Interestingly, “The Toe” never played varsity college football — he played one season on the Ohio State Buckeyes freshman team before enlisting in the U.S. Army during World War II. He eventually graduated from OSU after taking classes during the pro football off-season.