UCLA freshman running back Bolu Olorunfunmi hammers away

The freshman on offense who has been the most impressive during UCLA's training camp has not been quarterback Josh Rosen.

Bolu Olorunfunmi, a running back from Clovis West High, has played his way into the picture. At 5-foot-10 and 215 pounds, he has a low center of gravity that allows him to batter would-be tacklers with his shoulder while picking up more yards.


"He gives us a different running style," Coach Jim Mora said. "He's thick and doesn't take long strides. He's quicker than I thought he would be."

Olorunfunmi gained 5,235 yards and scored 59 touchdowns during his high school career. He had 1,830 yards and 21 touchdowns as a senior.

But a lot of high school backs roll up numbers. What Mora has liked is Olorunfunmi's maturity as a runner.

"I stand behind the offense, so I get a really good feel where the hole is going to be," Mora said. "He's patient, but when he finds it, he gets downhill in a hurry. You see that when he gets out on the edge. He doesn't keep running to the sideline, he puts his foot down and heads downfield."

The Bruins are set at running back. Paul Perkins, the Pac-12's leading rusher with 1,575 yards last season, and Nate Starks, who has had a strong camp, top the depth chart. But Olorunfunmi, who has out-performed fellow freshman Soso Jamabo, may have played his way into the rotation.

He has had only one glitch: Occasionally, he mishandles the ball. Olorunfunmi put a brilliant move on defensive back DeChaun Holiday on Thursday, only to have Holiday reach back and strip the ball.

Said Mora: "It doesn't matter how good a move you make or how hard you hit the hole, if you don't come out of the pile and hand the ball to the official, it's not a good play."