- Peter Yoon, ESPNLosAngeles.com
- 0 Shares
LOS ANGELES -- UCLA Bruins coach Jim Mora and his staff have not been shy about using true freshmen in games this season so it's no surprise that the list could soon include Devin Fuller, the top-ranked recruit in UCLA's freshmen class.
Fuller, the No. 39 overall high school player in the nation last year, came to UCLA as a quarterback, but has been working as a receiver and slot back as well as at punt returner in practice this week. Mora indicated Fuller would play in certain packages possibly as early as Saturday against California and his role would increase as he continues to learn the new position.
"He wants to play," Mora said. "He sees all these other guys in his class playing and he wants to be a part of it."
Fuller is a dynamic athlete who excels in the open field. He lists Michael Vick as the athlete he admires most and his smooth running style as well as his physical stature (6 feet, 195 pounds) is reminiscent of the Philadelphia Eagles quarterback.
Fuller had his heart set on competing for the quarterback spot, but Brett Hundley, a redshirt freshman, has started strong this season with 1,480 yards and 11 touchdowns passing through five games so Fuller was open to a position switch at least for the rest of this season.
"I don't know if it's a permanent switch yet," Fuller said. "It's difficult to give up quarterback, but Brett is playing phenomenally right now so this is the way I have to go to get on the field."
Fuller was one of the top-dual threat quarterbacks in the country last year when he passed for 2,247 yards and rushed for 1,326 at Northern Valley Regional High in New Jersey. He was selected to play in the U.S. Army All-American game and finished his high school career with 6,148 yards passing and 4,589 rushing. He had 58 touchdowns passing and 60 rushing.
Mora said the plan as of now is for Fuller to be back with the quarterbacks in spring practice unless Fuller decides he wants to make a permanent move to receiver. Fuller said it's too early to say what will happen but understands that Hundley is still going to be around for at least the next two years.
"They told me just to work at different positions to see how I'd like it, but we haven’t talked about further plans," Fuller said. "It's a lot of fun working at the other positions and I'm a team player so I'm willing to do whatever is best for the team."
The Bruins have already used 11 true freshmen in games this season, including offensive lineman Simon Goines who has started every game. Defensive end Ellis McCarthy, UCLA’s top defensive recruit this year, also tried his hand at switching positions when he played offensive guard last week against Colorado.
McCarthy, however, has played from the beginning. Fuller hasn't yet appeared in a game. He mostly has worked on the scout team and even then has been playing receiver. He could preserve his redshirt season by sitting out the rest of this year, but he said he's willing to give it up even this late in the season.
"If they call my number, I'm not going to say no," Fuller said. "If they need me to go in, I'll go in. If they don't, then I'll keep my redshirt year."