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Former UCLA back Maurice Jones-Drew announces retirement from NFL

Running back Maurice Jones-Drew announced his retirement from the NFL on Thursday after nine seasons in the league with the Jacksonville Jaguars and Oakland Raiders.

"After much discussion with my family and business team during the offseason, I've decided to retire from the National Football League," Jones-Drew posted on Twitter. "The past nine years were absolutely amazing! I'll be forever grateful to the countless people who have assisted me through my NFL journey."

Jones-Drew was selected with the 60th overall pick in the second round of the 2006 NFL draft by the Jacksonville Jaguars after three years at UCLA, where he had been named a consensus All-American and led the then-Pac-10 in 427 punt return yards. He also recorded 26 touchdowns on 2,503 rushing yards.

In his rookie season with Jacksonville, Jones-Drew rushed for 13 touchdowns -- fourth most in the league -- and caught two passes for scores. 

Over a three-year stretch for the Jaguars, he averaged more than 300 carries per...

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Norman Powell is named Pac-12's player of the week for the third time

Norman Powell couldn’t hide a smirk on Sunday when he was asked if he knew the significance of his final free throws against Washington State.

When he stepped to the line, he had 27 points. One more would be a career high. Did he know?

“Yeah,” Powell said with a grin. “I did.”

Powell, the senior guard, made one of two to set a high mark. He is playing his best basketball at a crucial time for UCLA. On Monday, he received recognition. The Pac-12 named him the player of the week for the third time this season.

He averaged 26 points and 5.5 rebounds in the Bruins' two games, and he shot nearly 62% from the field.

Whether UCLA qualifies for the NCAA tournament remains to be seen, but Powell is a major reason the Bruins are in the conversation at all.

Last season, Powell was a role player. But he has emerged as a leader for a young UCLA team this season. On Sunday, in a close game against the Cougars, he played all 40 minutes.

“Last year, he was anywhere from a 22-to-26-minute guy, and we...

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UCLA looks to hire former Penn State assistant coach Tom Bradley

Tom Bradley is in line to become as UCLA’s defensive coordinator, according to a person familiar with the situation who was not allowed to comment on the matter.

Bradley's hire is awaiting approval from the University of California Board of Regents. He would replace Jeff Ulbrich, who left UCLA to become an assistant coach with the Atlanta Falcons.

Bradley was an assistant at Penn State from 1981 to 2011. He was named the Nittany Lions’ interim head coach in 2011 after Joe Paterno stepped down when scandal involving former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky surfaced. Sandusky, a Penn State assistant from 1970 to 1999, was convicted of sexually assaulting 10 boys over a 15-year period.

Bradley was not retained as a coach when Bill O’Brien took over as Penn State’s coach in 2012. Bradley was hired as West Virginia’s senior associated head coach in charge of the defense a year ago. The Mountaineers gave up 33.3 points per game in 2013 and dropped to 27.6 under Bradley.

Penn State’s defenses...

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UCLA's Owamagbe Odighizuwa on the rise heading toward NFL draft

If there was one UCLA player who made a tremendous jump in the eyes of NFL scouts last season, it was defensive end Owamagbe Odighizuwa.

Odighizuwa will get a chance to wow NFL teams some more Thursday at the NFL combine. He has already gone from little known to a player who could be drafted in the second round, maybe higher.

The rapid rise came after Odighizuwa missed the 2013 season after hip surgery. He had the presence at 6-foot-3, 270 pounds, was one of the strongest players on the team and translated those attributes to the field in 2014.

He opened the season by deflecting a pass that was intercepted and returned for a touchdown by Ishmael Adams against Virginia. He finished the season with three deflected passes and one sack against Kansas State in the Valero Alamo Bowl.

Odighizuwa had 55 tackles and six sacks for the season.

“There are gray areas in sacks,” UCLA defensive line coach Angus McClure said. “He was there a handful of other times. He certainly had a lot of hurries...

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Darrell Miller Jr. hits two-run home run to help UCLA improve to 4-0

There are high expectations for Darrell Miller Jr., a junior catcher at UCLA. His father was a major leaguer. His uncle Reggie spent 18 years in the NBA. His aunt Cheryl is a Hall of Famer for her contributions in women's basketball.

Miller is getting the chance to start this season for UCLA and he has begun to deliver. His two-run home run in the eighth inning broke a 3-3 tie and helped the Bruins defeat Cal State Northridge, 7-3, on Tuesday.

UCLA is off to a 4-0 start. The Matadors dropped to 4-1.

Bruins freshman Sean Bouchard added a two-run home run in the eighth.

Freshman Griffin Canning, who led Santa Margarita to a Southern Section Division 1 championship last season, pitched 4 1/3 innings in his first collegiate start for UCLA. He struck out six and walked one while giving up three runs.

Ty Moore continued his hot hitting for the Bruins with three hits. His batting average after four games is .529.

CSUN received three hits from Yusuke Akitoshi.

Twitter:@LATSondheimer

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UCLA football: Linebacker Roquan Smith picks Georgia

Roquan Smith, the prized linebacker from Macon County (Ga.) High, has decided to stay home and play at Georgia, bringing to a close a recruiting faux pas by UCLA.

Larry Harold, Smith’s high school coach, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that Smith had signed grant-in-aid papers with Georgia.

Smith had said he would not sign a letter of intent with any school so he could retain control.

Smith said this week that he felt misled by UCLA coaches. He committed to the Bruins on national letter of intent signing day, citing defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich as a big reason. Smith refused to send his letter of intent after learning that Ulbrich would leave to join the Atlanta Falcons’ staff.

Follow Chris Foster on Twitter @cfosterlatimes

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