The 2023 UCLA Football season is nearly here, and while the team will see some changes, there are familiar faces returning to the field. Two key players to watch this season are center Duke Clemens and defensive lineman Laiatu Latu. Both are poised for an outstanding season, and they carry the responsibility of propelling UCLA to success. The duo has earned significant recognition during the offseason, finding their names on prestigious watch lists for their respective positions.
Laiatu Latu has secured a spot on the Bronko Nagurski Trophy List, which recognizes the nation’s best defensive player. He has established himself not only as a standout edge player in the Pac-12 but also as one of the finest in the entire country. In the 2022 season, Latu led the team with 12.5 tackles for loss and an impressive 10.5 sacks in just 13 games, earning him the eighth rank in the nation for sacks. His skill and performance on the field make him a formidable force on the Bruins’ defensive line.
On the other side of the ball, Duke Clemens has been named to the Outland Trophy watch list, an honor given to the best interior lineman in college football. Clemens played a pivotal role in UCLA’s successful run game last season, contributing to the team’s average of over 200 rushing yards per game. His efforts were instrumental in producing a 1,000-yard rusher for the Bruins for two consecutive years. His excellence on the offensive line makes him a vital asset to UCLA’s offense.
As the season unfolds, the eyes of football enthusiasts will be on Latu and Clemens, as they are the driving force behind the Bruins’ success on their respective sides of the ball. Their exceptional talents and performances have garnered national recognition, and they are both strong contenders for coveted trophies. With Latu’s dominance on defense and Clemens’ prowess on the offensive line, the Bruins are hopeful to bring home some well-deserved hardware by the end of the 2023 season.