clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Meet UCLA LB/RB Myles Jack, all-purpose terror

The versatile Bruin is a threat on both sides of the ball.

Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sport

Offensive Freshman of the Year in the Pac-12.

Defensive Freshman of the Year in the Pac-12.

Not only did the player winning those awards play for UCLA, that's player, not players.

Player because all-purpose terror Myles Jack was everywhere for the UCLA Bruins, scoring seven touchdowns on only 38 rushing attempts and a touchdown on defense, returning one of his two interceptions in the midst of making 76 tackles (51 solo), the second-most ever by a UCLA freshman, and breaking up 11 passes.

Somehow, 247Sports had left Jack out of the Top247 and ranked him as the No. 29 outside linebacker nationally, good for a mere three-star rating. But Jack proved that even higher rankings in the Composite probably weren't quite high enough for the Bellevue, Washington product who started 11 games at linebacker and one game at running back as a true freshman.

Now packing 232 pounds on a 6'1 frame, Jack plays bigger than his listed height because of his long arms and elite closing burst for his size.

Consider that of the 76 tackles Jack made as a freshman, a full two thirds came on solo efforts -- he wasn't getting to the ball before his teammates and making sure tackles, not just racking up stacks by being the second to arrive on the developing pile.

By comparison, Texas linebacker Steve Edmond, much less gifted in terms of reading plays and getting to the football, had only 31 solo tackles among his 71 stops, a measly 43.6%.

The two interceptions and 11 passes defensed speak to his ability in coverage. Check out Jack read the quarterback's eyes, feel the tight end hit the wheel route, and then recover to high-point the football and take away a catch.

Big-time stuff right there.

And despite Jack's ability in open spaces, he was also remarkably effective working as the end man on the line of scrimmage, where he showed that he could stack opposing tight ends by shooting his hands and controlling with proper placement to separate and make plays. Running the football at Jack hoping to take advantage of his youth may have been effective sometimes, but far from every time judging from his highlights.

Jack wasn't without his tough moments, either, as this collision with former Virginia Tech quarterback Logan Thomas proved.

So the tackling technique for Jack wasn't perfect on every play, a fact exacerbated in this instance by the 6'6, 260-pound frame of the Hokie quarterback.

Early this season, he's been productive on defense, breaking up two passes and recording a tackle for loss along with his 19 total tackles.

On offense, he carried the ball some as a junior in high school, running for 500 yards and six touchdowns, but his 247Sports stats section doesn't feature any indication of carries during his final prep season.

And it wasn't until the Arizona game, the ninth of his career, that he toted the rock for the first time in college, needing only six attempts to total 120 yards rushing and a touchdown.

Against Washington the next week, Jack scored on four of his 13 carries and a superstar was born.

Of his carries, 19 of 36 came in the red zone and 10 came on 3rd and short, but he wasn't just a threat to pick up a couple yards and score touchdowns -- he had gains of 25, 37, and 66 yards.

For a bigger back, Jack is impressive in his ability to make a quick, decisive slashing cut, then get outside and take the corner against a smaller player who should be able to neutralize him with an angle. Instead, Jack finds the end zone from serious distance.

And consider that UCLA put a linebacker at running back and produced a bigger play in less than one game than former five-star running backs Malcolm Brown and Johnathan Gray have produced in 812 combined carries. Consider as well that the run by Jack was also more than 50% longer than Gray's best effort of 42 yards.

This season, Jack has only carried three times for seven yards and a touchdown, but if the Bruins need to pick up a short-yardage situation, he may get the call, and if he does, he'll be a threat to take it the distance.

Everything else being equal, he has a much higher chance of making a big play in a situation like that than Gray or Brown.

Defensively, Jack has the disruptive ability to jump a passing lane and take one of those short passes Texas quarterback Tyrone Swoopes made with frequency against BYU and turn prospective solid gains into short gains or losses.

Whether it's on offense or defense, the odds are high that Jack will find some way to impact the game.

At the modern level in Power 5 conferences, that's an extraordinarily rare ability.