1. Sean Mannion : #beaverjuice, Sean Mannion has been slurping a lot of it. He is what Matt Barkley should have been this year. Take Tom Brady and erase all his dreamboat like qualities along with his never ending collection of male Uggs, what are you left with? You are left with Sean Mannion. Sean has a perfect frame for a pro style QB along with a rocket arm which also happens to be very very accurate. If those qualities were not enough, besides that cannon of an arm, Mannion has the toughness to be an extra on the set of “walking dead” since no matter how massive of a hit he takes, he will just rise back to his feet in a very nonathletic way to fling more TDs down the field. Get past that every damn white kid from Indiana face of his because then you will see a very solid quarterback, if not a special one.
2. Brett Hundley: Is he the “savior” as UCLA fans like to refer to him? Well, listen, every QB after Cade McNown has been labeled as a savior to start off the season so there is no great honor in garnering that nickname. However, unlike others QBs before him Brett has shown the poise, leadership, and mobility to be something special in the upcoming years. First, Brett is very accurate in his short to medium range passes which is a great asset to have in the Noel Mazzone’s swing pass heavy offense. Secondly, Hundley’s running ability (which is a bit overrated in my opinion, think of Pat Cowan minus the quality of ending every run with a massive hit to his head) gives him the elusiveness to buy extra time for himself in the pocket or to gain much needed yards past the line of scrimmage when his pass protection breaks down. And finally, Brett doesn’t have to deal with the Pistol aka “Fingerbang” offense that we had last year which in no doubt would have left him with a concussion by the 3rd quarter of the opening game. But let’s not pretend like this kid came out of nowhere to Rudy his way into our hearts this year, Brett was the 3rd rated QB in the country coming out of high school. He is just living up to his potential right now and good news for UCLA fans is that his potential has the highest ceiling of any QB we have had in our football program since Troy Aikman.
3. Matt Barkely: Matt “Prometheus” Barkley has been downgraded to Heisman doubtful due to the amount of hype he had coming into this season and frankly not living up to any of it. Just like the prequel to Aliens, Barkley had unimaginable hype that only let to a tremendous let down by the public upon viewing the final product. The key to stopping Barkley seems to be simple, get to him early and get to him often. I will say one thing for previous OG Matty, but Leinart stood there in the pocket never got flustered no matter how heavy the shots were. Sure, 90% of that bravado was probably due to syphilis eating away at Leinart’s brain, but it’s still a quality that the Matty 2.0 just doesn’t have even after spending 4 years at the helm. If I was a defensive coordinator for Utah, I would trade a giving up an early touchdown for a massive hit on Barkley early on in the game because the chances are after the hit Matty will start floating 99 balloons up in the air hoping that one of his athletic and explosive comrades will catch the the damn thing and run 95 yds with it. Mobility is a word that is not allowed in the Barkley household and it has hurt him tremendously with the suspect offensive line he has in front of him this year. Matty 2.0 pro draft stock has been slipping slowly and he needs to do some damage control against Utah to bring it back to the preseason level.
Honorary mentions – Taylor Kelly, Matt Scott, anyone not named Josh Nunes.