'Sweetheart' Eric Kendricks the quiet face of UCLA's defense
LOS ANGELES – When you think about recent UCLA football linebackers, Eric Kendricks probably isn’t the first guy to pop into your mind. You can thank Anthony Barr and Myles Jack for that. Heck, when you think about football players with the last name of Kendricks, Eric plays second fiddle to older brother Mychal, the 2011 Pat Tillman Defensive Player of the Year and key contributor for the Philadelphia Eagles.
While he might not carry the same media accolades, UCLA’s Kendricks is held in high regard by his head coach… very high regard.
“He’s a sweetheart… I know that sounds really silly to call one of my players a sweetheart, but he’s a sweetheart,” UCLA football coach Jim Mora said Thursday at Pac-12 Football Media Day as he pointed over to Kendricks’ corner of the Media Day stage. “If my daughter dated and married him, I’d be fine with that. He’s got nice hair.”
Tell us how you really feel, Coach.
Hair and date-ability aside, Kendricks has quietly put together an impressive resume on the field at UCLA. He led the Pac-12 with 150 tackles in 2012 and was third in the Pac-12 last year in tackles average at 8.8 per game.
“He’s kind of the glue guy, without even saying a lot,” Mora said. “He’s kind of that guy that everyone wants to orbit around.”
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He might not have a loud game or be the most vocal guy on the team, but Kendricks makes sure his presence is felt.
"I can lead by example," he said. "I have to show these young guys how to do it, and when it comes to that responsibility, I have to come every day with my hard hat on and not take any days off."