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UCLA football: Adarius Pickett shifts to running back

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UCLA cornerback Adarius Pickett is making the move to running back for the Bruins
Adarius Pickett was a top running back in high school, rushing for 1,800 yards and 31 touchdowns last year

UCLA’s Adarius Pickett is on the move.

He entered training camp as a cornerback and will now be a ball carrier. The Bruins’ staff moved Pickett to running back Saturday.

“We think he’s a guy who can contribute this year, for sure on special teams,” Coach Jim Mora said. "The way the depth is at defensive back, I don’t know if he would get in the rotation. Running  back is a spot where we’re looking for some depth, and someone who can have an impact. He seem like the perfect guy.”

Pickett’s high school numbers indicate so. He gained more than 1,800 yards and scored 31 touchdowns as a senior at El Cerrito (Calif.) High last fall.

Jordon James was the starter at running back when the 2013 season began, but missed a chunk of the season with a sprained ankle. Steven Manfro and Paul Perkins have experience at the position, while Craig Lee and Nate Starks are newcomers looking for playing time.

The Bruins have numbers at cornerback. Starters Ishmael Adams and Fabien Moreau return. Marcus Rios has been strong the first week of training camp and Priest Willis has begun to grow into the position.

Pickett, with his running back background, was the logical one to change positions.

“If we can get him some snaps on offense and get him involved on some special teams, then it is worth playing him as freshman,” Mora said.

And Pickett’s opinion on the move?

When defensive backs coach Demetrice Martin informed Pickett of the change, Mora said, “He told Meat, 'I’ll leave here the starter.' That was not in an arrogant way, but a determined type of way.”

Twitter: @cfosterlatimes

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