UCLA Freshman Myles a Jack of All Trades

UCLA freshman Myles Jack has shown he can do it all, playing both linebacker and running back this year.
UCLA freshman Myles Jack has shown he can do it all, playing both linebacker and running back this year.

UCLA Freshman Myles Jack continues to send shockwaves through the NCAA football world by proving that he can do it all, finding success one both sides of the ball. To say it is rare in this day and age to play both offense and defense is an understatement of the largest proportions, some teams hardly even do it, but this freshman has certainly bucked that trend.

Last week Myles Jack played offense for the first time and made an instant splash as UCLA defeated Arizona 31-26. Rushing for 120 yards on just six carries, including a huge 66 yard touchdown on a crucial third-and-one in the fourth quarter of a tight ballgame.

In his second go around on offense the man who also plays linebacker has found success once again, midway through the fourth quarter he has carried the ball 12 times for 60 yards while finding the end zone an astonishing four times. UCLA has a comfortable 41-24 lead over the Washington Huskies as a result.

Part of the reason the two-way player has become a relic in today’s football world is the toll it takes on a player’s body over time. Linebacker and running back are two physically taxing positions, players at those positions typically don’t enjoy the longest careers at the professional level. That is definitely a concern for the coaching staff moving forward.

“You’ve got to be careful,” UCLA coach Jim Mora said of the situation with Myles Jack. “He’s an 18-year-old freshman, and his plate is pretty full. We have to make sure we move methodically. My experience has told me you get carried away sometimes. When you get carried away and use a guy in too many different spots, they lose their effectiveness in all spots.”

The reason for the switch to Myles Jack at offense is largely due to starting running back Jordan James being hobbled by an injury.

Moving forward, Myles Jack figures to play more defense than offense, but given his effectiveness he likely will remain a situational offensive player.

If given the choice between offense or defense, Myles Jack says that he would play linebacker. The reason being that he would rather give a hit than receive one.

“It’s one game,” Jack said after the win over Arizona. “I’m not taking anybody’s spot on offense. I’m still a defensive player. If coach asks me to come in on third-and-1, I’ll be more than happy to come in there.”

A four touchdown performance is one heck of an encore for the talented Myles Jack, his UCLA Trojans are closing in on a top ten ranking and look to be a factor when Bowl Games begin. The future looks bright for this freshman regardless of what position he winds up playing.

Charlie Gille

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