As the NCAA football season comes to a close, the UCLA Bruins rank 18th in the NCAA football top 25. UCLA had a strong season, as they finished standing 9-3, and 5th in an extremely competitive PAC-12 conference. Over the past decade, it has been an up-and-down performance for the UCLA football program. This season was the most wins UCLA has had since 2014 (10 wins), and only the second time in the last seven years that they surpassed a .500 win percentage.
After six seasons with head coach Jim Mora at the helm, UCLA signed former University of Oregon coach Chip Kelly as his replacement. This is Chip Kelly’s fifth season as the head coach of the UCLA Bruins, but only in the last two years has he been able to find success with the UCLA program. Last season they were able to pull it together and go 8-4, and improved to 9-3 this season.
Jadyn Marshall & NIL
In an interview with Jadyn Marshall, he discussed the way that Chip Kelly has been improving the UCLA program. Jadyn Marshall said that Chip Kelly feels the energy in the UCLA locker room, and the culture of the program has begun to shift, and for the better.
One of the biggest factors that has contributed to UCLA’s success as of late is the emergence of NIL (Name, Image, and Likeness) possibilities for collegiate athletes. The PAC-12 was a struggling conference in recent years, but now that the laws have changed regarding athletes profiting from their own names, images, and likenesses, west coast college teams have become a hotspot for high school recruits. The NIL possibilities, along with the potential for fame and fortune in California is definitely an attractive concept for a young high school recruit. The bright lights and opportunities of Los Angeles have definitely shown to cause a trend with college athlete recruitment, as over the last two years, USC and UCLA football have gained many more highly touted recruits. For example, UCLA just landed the number 11 recruit in the class of 2023, quarterback Dante Moore.
Future of UCLA Football
Looking ahead for UCLA football, following the 2023 season they will become part of the Big Ten, which will mean more money for the program, and an increase of size for the university. UCLA was permitted to join this conference on several conditions, which included a required amount of money towards mitigating travel expenses, funding mental health and wellness programs for the athletes, as well as academic help. Will all of this be worth it for the UCLA program? That is unsure. What is sure is that the UCLA athletes will now be competing in a much more competitive conference, on prime time television. This opportunity will attract more talent to the university, and therefore cause UCLA to become one of the most prominent programs in college football.