Football

UCLA RB Zach Charbonnet goes ‘at full speed’ into senior year

19 Apr 2022 | 08:09

LOS ANGELES – Zach Charbonnet in January announced that he would be staying at Westwood for the senior season with an image on Instagram that read: “Business unfinished.”

The return to running may have been tied up by the NFL, which is about to have a breakout year debut at UCLA after moving from Michigan. Charbonnet dashed for 1,137 yards and 13 touchdowns last season, his seven 100-yard games topping the Pac-12 and the most by a Bruin since 2012.

But the 6-foot-1, 220-pound Charbonnet, who has two more years of qualifying, wants to get better before moving on to the next level. He wants to work on catching passes, getting his degree, and winning the Pac-12.

“It’s what this team has dreamed of,” said former Oaks star Christian High. “It’s something that I want to return to and also be a part of this year.”

Like quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson, Charbonnet put his NFL dreams on hold for another season at UCLA. This duo is expected to bring invaluable stability to the Bruins in two key attacking positions.

Charbonnet, who said head coach Chip Kelly told him it would be nice to come back and improve some details before turning pro, added that he hasn’t consulted too closely with Thompson-Robinson about whether or not they’ll get back together even though they’re similar. date notice.

But when he saw Thompson-Robinson’s post on social media, Charbonnet knew the time was right.

“It wasn’t completely staged, but as soon as I saw him say he was coming back, I said, ‘I’m going to announce today that I’m coming back, too,’” Charbonnet said.

Charbonnet said he’s received several NFL-level reviews, but his decision is up to him and his family.

His decision is certainly good news for the backing of coach DeShaun Foster, who credits Charbonnet for his consistency.

“He comes to practice no matter what,” says Foster. “He had a hard time walking. He doesn’t talk much. You don’t have to talk to him much. He motivates himself.”

Charbonnet said he is mentoring the younger players on the squad this spring, and his motto is “practice the way you play” – not applying the brakes.

“In the game, I’m going at full speed every day, so in reality, I’m going to do the same thing,” he said.

Last season, Charbonnet ranked second in the Pac-12 in average javelin points, third in multi-shots per game, and in the top 25 nationally in javelin counts. That earned him the second-team All-Pac-12 title and the Associated Press’ Newcomer of the Year ‘Pac-12’ award. And it has also encouraged the attack line to make sure Charbonnet has room to operate.

“Zach is a great player,” Duke Clemens said. “He proves it every day in practice. We are the O-line team, we want him to succeed. ”

However, he’s not done getting better – and bigger. Charbonnet has emerged as one of the highlights of his season, according to him.

“He was a neat guy,” Foster said. “He’s a pro who is refining his skills to the next level.”

Charbonnet’s strong 2021 campaign even brought him some Darkhorse Heisman title predictions.

“It’s worth it, because Zach is that kind of player,” Kelly said. “He ran very well last year. But we try not to care about outside expectations. If you ask Zach, his expectations of himself are probably even higher. And that’s a good thing. That’s the kind of thing we loved about him as a player. ”

Manoa switched sides

Tyler Manoa, who has played four seasons mainly as a substitute in defence, is trying to switch to attack this spring. His former defensive teammates were touched by Manoa’s absence after Thursday’s training session in the sweltering heat.

“I definitely feel he’s gone today,” defender Odua Isibor said. “It was hot. Where’s my son Tyler? He’s on the other side of the ball. Really bad. But it’s a good opportunity for him. I think he did it in stride. He loves football. He loves what he does. Smart guy, great work ethic so I think it will be good for him.”

According to Kelly, Manoa made the move to maximize his chances of playing. UCLA has depth on the defensive front but had to replace the three main players from last season in attack.

“I feel it’s a good move for him,” said defense Martin Andrus Jr. speak. “He picked it up very well. Hopefully he can help us on that ball. ”