UCLA’s Conor McDermott has been eased into training camp to protect his surgically repaired left shoulder.
The last two days he has been allowed to pick up the pace, with McDermott playing right tackle for the first-team offense.
It has been a long road back.
McDermott, who came to UCLA as a 6-foot-9 bean pole, worked himself into the picture last season. He beefed up to 285 pounds and got a chance to play last fall on his 21st birthday, when Simon Goines was injured against Stanford.
“It was an exciting five or six plays,” said McDermott, a redshirt sophomore. “It was a good and bad birthday present.”
McDermott suffered a separated shoulder and was lost for the season. He underwent surgery and slowly worked his way back. He was cleared to practice in June and appears to be close to winning a starting job.