The 2022 college football season is still six weeks away from kicking off, but that isn't stopping people from looking ahead to what happens next.
The 2023 NFL Draft, despite not starting until next April, is already building up hype just a few months removed from the 2022 edition. While student-athletes won't have to declare until January, some of the top college all-star games are building out lists of potential invitees, setting up a long six months of scouting and working relationships.
The East-West Shrine Bowl released the Shrine Bowl 1000 on Wednesday, marking a transparent start to their scouting process ahead of next February's invite-only event in Las Vegas. UCLA football had 11 players featured, tied for the second-most in the Pac-12 only behind Washington.
Quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson, running back Zach Charbonnet, wide receiver Kazmeir Allen, tight end Mike Martinez, center Duke Clemens, guard Jon Gaines II, offensive tackle Raiqwon O'Neal, linebacker Bo Calvert, linebacker Carl Jones, linebacker Darius Muasau and cornerback Azizi Hearn were the Bruins who made the list.
The East-West Shrine Bowl describes the list as follows:
Every year, approximately 1000 all-star game eligible players are drafted, signed after the draft, or attend a rookie mini-camp. Our aim is for this Shrine Bowl 1000 to serve as a look into our scouting process, as well as begin to preview college players who are currently all-star game eligible for the 2023 East-West Shrine Bowl and 2023 NFL Draft class.
This list was extremely difficult for our team to put together, scouring players from all four levels of football and speaking with NFL and college personnel to ensure we put together the best 1000 players for the NFL level.
As the East-West Shrine Bowl strives to be a best-in-class event, we’re excited to feature these talented 1000 players and over 200 college programs as they strive to be at their best for the 2022 college season.
Not all of the 1000 players will wind up getting invited to the East-West Shrine Bowl, and even some who do will opt to play in the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl or Reese's Senior Bowl instead. Over 350 combined players will appear in those three all-star games, meaning more than half of the Shrine Bowl 1000 is bound to fall short of reaching those heights.
UCLA had seven representatives between the three all-star games last winter, including two at the East-West Shrine Bowl – safety Quentin Lake and receiver Kyle Philips, both of whom were selected in the draft two months later.
Lake and Philips contributed to UCLA putting together its largest draft class since 2016. A total of six Bruins were selected in 2022 – the most by any Pac-12 program and top-10 among all schools – in addition to three more who signed undrafted free agent contracts.
Losing those nine players in 2022, compounded with potentially losing a dozen more NFL-caliber players in 2023, could set UCLA up for a true rebuild in the near future. There is still an entire season left to play before the picture becomes clear, though, as nothing is guaranteed for Thompson-Robinson, Charbonnet or anyone else just yet.
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Sam Connon is the Publisher and Managing Editor at All Bruins, in association with the FanNation and Sports Illustrated networks.