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UCLA Coach Jim Mora on wide receiver Kenneth Walker III: 'I just got a gut feeling about the kid'

UCLA Coach Jim Mora on wide receiver Kenneth Walker III: 'I just got a gut feeling about the kid'
UCLA wide receiver Kenneth Walker III pulls down a pass in front of Virginia cornerback Maurice Canady on Sept. 5. (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

Coach Jim Mora said receivers remain one of his biggest questions after the conclusion of UCLA's 15 spring practices, but he added that he has a good feeling about the development of Kenneth Walker III.

"He could be one of the surprises in the country this year," Mora said. "I know that's a really, really big statement to make. I just got a gut feeling about the kid."

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Gone from last season are three of the Bruins' top-five pass catchers — Jordan Payton, Thomas Duarte and Devin Fuller. Walker ranked eighth on the team with nine receptions for 231 yards and a touchdown.

During the spring showcase Saturday, Walker, a fifth-year senior, made several catches on deep throws from Josh Rosen.

Mora said Rosen and the receivers must develop chemistry over the summer, but for his part, Walker was on track for a breakout season.

"Kenny's problems have not been getting open. His problem has never been speed," Mora said. "We've all seen at times that he doesn't catch the ball as consistently as you'd like, but the last few weeks, he just has."

UCLA plays Texas A&M in a season opener Sept. 3 in College Station, Texas.

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