Rick Kimbrel

Rick Kimbrel

Rick Kimbrel, the former managing editor of PrepStar magazine, is nationally recognized as one of the leading authorities on college football recruiting. The veteran analyst and reporter was key in first making Blue Chip Illustrated and then PrepStar Magazine a recruiting publication standard.

Kimbrel has written for CBS Sportsline, ESPN.com, CNN-SI, The Sporting News, Athlon's, Lindy's, Football News, and numerous other publications. He has also consulted on All-America teams for Parade Magazine and Street and Smith's. Most recently, Rick was the West Coast Recruiting Editor for Rivals.com, national recruiting consultant for Rivals.com and publisher of BruinBlitz.com.

Rick has been a featured guest on many television shows around the nation including Prime Ticket, Fox Sports, Fox Sports West, CNN, CNN-SI and numerous local and regional stations. Kimbrel is also a highly sought after guest on radio broadcasts from coast-to-coast.

Jamabo S UNLVUCLA (6-6) will take on Kansas State (7-5) the 29th annual Cactus Bowl game kickoff is scheduled for 6:00 PM PST and with it will start the conclusion of a very strange season for the Bruins.

During this odd season that saw UCLA head coach, Jim Mora lose his job along with many of the assistants, the Bruins will be under the guidance of interim head coach, Jedd Fisch, who will all continue in his role as offensive coordinator.

It’s unfortunate for Fisch that he will be leading the Bruins with a skeleton coaching staff. Graduate assistants will be manning the defensive backs and linebackers.

Fisch during the week leading up to the game was thankful that defensive coordinator, Tom Bradley, has coached all three levels of defense and will be helping the young coaches.

While nothing has been announced there have been rumors surfacing that junior quarterback, Josh Rosen will sit the game out due to concussion protocol, if true, the Bruin signal caller will end up the season, throwing for 3,756 yards, 26 touchdowns, 10 interceptions, averaged 341.5 yards per game and on 62.6 percent of his passes.

If Rosen isn’t able to play, UCLA will get a chance of glimpsing into the future. Redshirt freshman quarterback, Devon Modster will get the nod and will be auditioning for new head coach Chip Kelly.

In relief duty, Modster has been outstanding and led the Bruins in the waning moments of the Cal game for a game-winning drive. The youngster displayed outstanding poise in the process. In four games, this season, Devon Modster threw for 376 yards, two touchdowns and hit on 66.7 percent of his passes.

The Cactus Bowl will mark the fourth time that UCLA and Kansas State have squared off on the gridiron with the Bruins holding a 2-1 lead.

The last time these two teams faced off was in the Valero Alamo Bowl in San Antonio, Texas. It was a wild affair that saw Brett Hundley is his last game a Bruin lead No. 14 ranked UCLA to a 31-6 only to see the Wildcats roar back and made the game too close for comfort with the Bruins hanging on to win 40-35.

You may remember that a Wildcat player flew over the offensive line to try and force a fumble when Hundley was taking a knee to end the game. The Bruin players didn’t like that their prized quarterback could have been in harm’s way.

How things have the fortunes have changed since that victory in Texas two in 2015. The win was UCLA's 10th of the season, which matched the school record. The victory over K-State was UCLA’s third win over a top 15 ranked team. The most wins, a Bruin team had over ranked teams, since 1952. It was also the 10th-straight Bruin win away from the Rose Bowl.

Fast forward to 2017 and going back to 2016, the Bruins haven’t won away from the Rose Bowl since September 17, 2016, against BYU in Provo. Over the last two seasons, UCLA 1-11 on the road.

One thing that UCLA can expect out of Kansas State is that they will be well-coached. Legendary Wildcat coach Bill Snyder, maybe coaching in is last game and there would be nothing more the K-State football team would love to do than let Snyder go out a winner.

Before Snyder’s arrival to Manhattan, Kansas, the Wildcat football program was a perennial college football bottom dweller and was often called the Mildcats. When Snyder took over the helm, made K-State a football team to reckon with.

The Wildcats are coming to Phoenix on a roll winning, four out of their last five games, two of which were double-figure comebacks.

Redshirt freshman, Skylar Thompson, will line up under center for the Wildcats. Because of injuries, Thompson had on the job training and he has improved with every snap. The young Wildcat signal caller, twice earned Big 12 Newcomer of the Week while leading K-State to crucial late-season victories that earned the program their eighth straight bowl game.

The game will be televised on ESPN with Jason Benetti doing play-by-play, Jordan Rodgers analyzing the action, and Olivia Harlan will report from the sideline.

UCLA Sports Network from IMG College will broadcast the game on AM 1150 with the usual crew Josh Lewin, and the Bruin quarterbacks, Matt Stevens and Wayne Cook performing their usual roles.

ESPN Radio will also broadcast the game with Mark Kestecher and another Bruin quarterback, Tom Ramsey behind the microphones.

Monday, 25 December 2017 15:51

Kenny Young Ready To Finish Strong

UCLA senior linebacker, Kenny Young, met with the Bruin beat media shortly before leaving for Phoenix for the bowl game. Young talks about playing in his 42nd game as a Bruin, his former linebacker coach and more. Enjoy!

Sunday, 24 December 2017 15:58

Bruins Upend Wildcats, 83-75

Holiday A UKyThe Bruins needed to play their best if they were to beat the No. 7 nationally ranked Wildcats and they did just that upending Kentucky (9-2), 83-75.

UCLA (9-3) did what they had to do to gain their victory. They shared the basketball on offense, hit their free throws [13-15] and five Bruins scored in double figures. The Bruins also played solid defense and did a good job on the boards. It was the perfect recipe for a win.

“I thought today, we really put it together,” UCLA coach Steve Alford said. “Our guys have had a lot thrown at them. There were a lot of different man defenses thrown at us, coverages thrown at us, and then some zone. I thought our offense really handled that well.

“I was really pleased with our defense. I thought we did a great job on the backboard. We limited their second [chance] opportunities. We did the same thing at Michigan. These are teams that have really taken pride in their board play, and we’ve done a good job on the backboard. That’s pretty important moving forward.

“So, it’s a great time for our guys to get a couple days off with the break. Hopefully, our guys can travel safely. And the guy to my right [Aaron Holiday] was awfully big down the stretch. He proved what type of quality player that he is. So, just very happy with this performance.”

Aaron Holiday was outstanding and was tied with Kris Wilkes for a game-high in points with 20. For Wilkes, his scoring output tied his career-high. Holiday also a game-high eight assists. Alford was full of praise for his junior point guard.

“He’s unbelievable,” Alford said about Holiday. "I’ve said all along that he’s like a pit bull who is just going to come at you. I’ve loved coaching him. These have been three great years here.

“When Aaron was a freshman, we missed the [NCAA] tournament and he started every game. And then the next year, his sophomore year, we had a great recruiting class and then he doesn’t start. He comes off the bench, and in my mind, there wasn’t a better player off the bench in the nation than Aaron Holiday.

“And his numbers all went up, and now boom here in year three he’s thrust into, ‘Hey you’ve got five new guys who you need to lead.’ The guys from last season are gone. He has just handled it tremendous. It doesn’t matter what you throw at him. He just gives you everything that he’s got. That’s the thing that I appreciate about Aaron.”

It wasn’t just about Holiday, this was a team effort. Thomas Welsh was his consistent self and notched his ninth double-double of the season, scoring 13 points and coming down with a game-high 11 boards. He also had three steals. Jaylen Hands added 14 points off the bench and Prince Ali chipped in 12 points.

UCLA returns home and will open conference play. The Bruins will play Washington State on Friday, Dec. 29 at 8:00 PM PST. The game will be televised on ESPN2.

The Bruins will host the Washington Huskies on Sunday, Dec. 31. Hopefully, UCLA will close out 2017 with a win. Tipoff against UDub is scheduled for 5:00 PM PST.

Saturday, 23 December 2017 16:22

Bruins Head To NOLA To Play Wildcats

Welsh T McNeeseStIf UCLA (8-3) is going to be able to prevail against No. 7 Kentucky (9-1) in New Orleans, the Bruins will have to play the kind of basketball they did coming out in the second half against South Dakota when they built a 24-point lead.

The Bruins will lose if they suffer point droughts as they have in their last three games, two of which ended up as losses. If the Bruins allow Kentucky to go on a 28-7 run like South Dakota did in the last game odds are the Bruins won’t survive. UCLA can’t make things difficult on themselves and must be almost flawless.

The two historic programs have seen quite a bit of each other lately. This will be the fifth time the Bruins and the Wildcats have faced off in the past four years, each squad has won two games apiece.

That doesn’t mean the players are familiar with each other. There have been significant roster changes in just one year. Only one Wildcat, sophomore Wenyen Gabriel (6-9, 205) played against the Bruins last season. Gabriel averaged 11.5 minutes in both games against UCLA. Seniors, Thomas Welsh and GG Golomon, along with junior Aaron Holiday all saw action for the Bruins against Kentucky last year.

Kentucky currently has four players who are scoring in double figures. Freshman forward Kevin Knox (6-9, 215) has led the way (15.8 ppg, 5.7 rpg) while redshirt freshman guard Hamidou Diallo (6-5, 198) is chipping in 15.2 ppg. Freshman guard, Quade Green (6-0, 180), averages 11.0 ppg and freshman guard, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (6-6, 180) contributes 10.0 ppg. Just missing averaging in double figures is freshman forward, P.J. Washington (6-7, 236) is averaging 9.8 ppg.

Kentucky's only loss this season came to then-No. 4 Kansas (65-61) at Chicago's United Center in the Champions Classic on Nov. 14.

Thomas Welsh, is coming off a superb game, scoring 19 points, coming down with 11 rebounds, had three blocked shots and had four assists.

Aaron Holiday scored 15 points and had a team-high, five assists. GG Golomon scored 12 points, Jaylen Hands added 12 points off the bench and Chris Smith chipped in 10 points off the bench in UCLA’s last game.

The game will be played at the Smoothie King Center, a venue that holds 17,791 fans. Tipoff is scheduled for 1:00 PM. PST.

The contest will be televised nationally on CBS with Brad Nessler handling the play-by-play, Bill Raftery analyzing the action, and Allie LaForce reporting from courtside.

If you are out and about this busy holiday season you can tune into UCLA Sports Network from IMG on AM 570 and listen to the excitement with Josh Lewin and UCLA great Tracy Murray will perform their usual roles.

Saturday, 23 December 2017 16:16

Thomas Welsh Meets the Press

UCLA big man Thomas Welsh is having an outstanding senior season. The articulate Welsh met with the Bruin beat media to discuss the coming Kentucky game and more. Enjoy!

Saturday, 23 December 2017 15:54

Steve Alford Weekly Presser

UCLA basketball coach, Steve Alford, met with the Bruin beat media shortly before heading to New Orleans where his squad will take on the No. 7 ranked Kentucky Wildcats. Enjoy!

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