Friday, August 10, 2012 Updated: August 11, 6:57 PM ET
QB Brett Hundley to start for UCLA
By Peter Yoon ESPNLosAngeles.com
In an announcement that carried little surprise other than the timing of it, UCLA coach Jim Mora on Friday selected Brett Hundley as the Bruins' starting quarterback.
Hundley, a redshirt freshman, long ago appeared to have taken the lead over Kevin Prince, Richard Brehaut and Jerry Neuheisel, but Mora said he wanted to see the quarterbacks in training camp at Cal State San Bernardino before he named a starter.
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By Friday, he apparently had seen enough and a day after his comments about public safety at UCLA created a national stir, he named Hundley as the starter via press release on an off day during training camp, six days before Mora's self-declared Aug. 16 deadline to name a starter.
"Brett has consistently demonstrated the qualities we value in a starting quarterback and is an outstanding leader who commands the respect of his teammates," Mora said in a statement. "He has shown excellent decision-making skills, and his accuracy and timing continue to improve with each practice. In addition, he has shown the mobility and creativity needed when a play breaks down."
Hundley, among the top high school quarterbacks in the nation in 2010, is 6 feet 3, 223 pounds and is a dual threat with his arm and his legs. He said Friday that he wasn't worrying about the quarterback competition as much as improving as a player.
"I sort of told myself before I got to camp that I can't worry about that stuff," he said. "I just have to get my mind focused not on getting the spot. The spot will come as a by-product of mastering my craft each and every day."
He's acted like the leader of the Bruins since about the middle of spring camp, staying late after practices to help teammates, encouraging other players to get through drills and became so vocal during the first week of camp that he started to lose his voice.
"The leadership role just comes naturally," Hundley said. "I can't say the team is forming around me, but I'm feeling a lot more comfortable. It's feeling a lot better with the team."
Mora said Tuesday that he had an 'inkling' on who his starting quarterback would be, but it sounded obvious that Hundley would be the guy when he spoke glowingly about the redshirt freshman.
"He throws the ball well, he throws it with accuracy, he's making good decisions and he's got the X-factor which is his legs," Mora said.
Hundley really impressed Mora during a two-minute drill in which Mora was purposefully trying to create chaotic situations.
"Brett is just kind of unflappable," Mora said. "In that drill, I was trying to cause problems that he had to solve. If he makes a mistake, by the time he gets to the sideline, he knows exactly how he should have handled the situation and he responds really well."