UCLA's Najee Toran comfortable with switch to defensive line

UCLA's Najee Toran has completed his transition this summer, going from the offensive line to nose tackle.

Toran arrived at UCLA a year ago as a guard. He even started the season opener against Virginia, allowing Scott Quessenberry to play center for the injured Jack Brendel.


That was the extent of his season. Toran changed career paths during the winter, shifting to the defense.

"I was really happy about it," Toran said. "I hadn't played defense since my freshman year [at Houston North Shore High]. It was a big change."

But he said that with the Bruins deep on offensive linemen, he saw a better opportunity on the other side. He is now competing to back up starter Kenny Clark.

The work began in spring.

"I wasn't too comfortable because I was trying to the learn the plays and technique," Toran said. But at the start of training camp, "it just clicked. I'm good with it now."

Toran said having trained extensively as an offensive lineman gives him an edge.

"I can read the technique of the tackle and the guard," Toran said. "I know exactly what they're doing because I was doing it not too long ago."

Quick hits

Quarterbacks Josh Rosen and Jerry Neuheisel looked sharp during UCLA's morning practice Monday. Rosen completed 15 of 20 passes. Neuheisel completed seven of eight. They alternated with the first and second teams during non-contact team drills. ... Cornerback Ishmael Adams, who had been out with an ankle injury, and linebacker Myles Jack, who missed much of Saturday's practice with an undisclosed injury, returned to workouts. ... Even with Adams back, Marcus Rios continued to hold down a spot with the first-team defense. ... Guard Alex Redmond missed practice while attending to a personal matter.