One of the Bruins' top pass rushers is officially coming back to Westwood for one last ride
UCLA football edge rusher Mitchell Agude did not submit his name for the 2022 NFL Draft before Monday's deadline, nor has he entered the transfer portal, and he announced he would be returning for his final year of collegiate eligibility this coming fall. Agude joined the Bruins for the 2020 season after transferring in from Riverside City College, and he led the team in forced fumbles in each of his two campaigns in blue and gold.
Agude was one of the few outstanding upperclassmen who had yet to announce his intentions for 2022, with quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson and running back Zach Charbonnet opting to return while defensive lineman Otito Ogbonnia, receiver Kyle Philips, tight end Greg Dulcich and others declared for the NFL Draft. The deadline to declare for the draft passed Monday, leading to a lot of speculation throughout the week regarding Agude's status at UCLA.
The speculation is over, as Agude shared his plans with the world on Twitter on Thursday.
In two seasons with the Bruins, Agude has 78 tackles, 15.5 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks, four passes defended, four quarterback hits, seven forced fumbles and one fumble recovery in 18 games.
Agude started off the 2021 season red hot, forcing four fumbles in the first two games against Hawaii and LSU. Injuries hampered Agude midseason, though, and he did not force another turnover for the rest of the year.
The final three games of the regular season treated Agude kindly, though, as he tallied 1.0 tackle for loss in each of the Bruins' wins in a perfect November. Agude's high-point in conference play was a 10-tackle performance against USC, setting a career high in the historic blowout rivalry victory even while getting flagged later in the game for making a chasedown tackle without his helmet on.
With Agude back for 2022, UCLA has most of its edge production returning next fall. At the hand-down defensive end role, the Bruins now have Agude and rising sophomore Devin Aupiu coming back and Washington's Laiatu Latu transferring in, while Bo Calvert and Carl Jones return to the raider role on the other side. Agude's backup, Myles Jackson, has transferred to Indiana, but he only accounted for six tackles and one sack in 2021.
Ogbonnia, defensive lineman Datona Jackson, linebacker Jordan Genmark Heath, striker Qwuantrezz Knight, cornerback Jay Shaw, cornerback Cameron Johnson, cornerback Obi Eboh and safety Quentin Lake are all departing, though, via graduation, the draft or transfer portal – as are important backups Myles Jackson, defensive lineman Tiaoalii Savea and safety DJ Warnell – so there will certainly be holes to fill for the Bruins on the defensive side of the ball.
UCLA is currently looking for its next defensive coordinator now that Jerry Azzinaro has resigned after four seasons, and whoever steps up into the role will certainly be glad to have a disruptive edge presence like Agude in-house right off the bat.