Miami Hurricanes offensive lineman Malcolm Bunche started all 12 games for Al Golden's team as a sophomore in 2012. But after making just one start in 2013, the junior decided he would spend his final season of eligibility somewhere other than Coral Gables.
And according to Bunche's father, the 6-foot-7, 327-pound lineman has settled on a college football location about as far away from Miami -- geographically speaking -- as it's possible to get: UCLA .
"I talked to Malcolm last night for quite a while," Curtis Bunche told the Miami Herald, "and he was very impressed with his overall experience with the trip there to UCLA, the tour of the campus, his conversation with the head coach and offensive coordinator – and even more so his offensive line coach [Adrian Klemm]."
Bunche has earned his degree and will be immediately eligible in 2014.
Four of the five Bruins' starting offensive linemen at the end of their 10-3 season were redshirt sophomores or younger, but the lone exception was junior left tackle Xavier Su'a-Filo, who became one of the record 98 underclassmen to declare for the 2014 draft. Though Bunche saw time at guard in 2012, the Bunches believe Malcolm's 2012 experience and tackle-sized frame will put him directly into the mix to replace Su'a-Filo in the Bruins lineup.
"They need an O-lineman to protect that Heisman Trophy candidate's blind side," Curtis said, referring to quarterback Brett Hundley -- and the 36 sacks he suffered in 2013, the 109th-best total in the country.
Whether that player will prove to be Malcolm Bunche or one of the other talented linemen already on the Bruin roster -- Su'a-Filo's 2013 backup, Poasi Moala, was a consensus four-star recruit ranked among the top-20 guards in the country in the class of 2013 -- remains to be seen. But it's safe to assume Jim Mora won't complain at all about having another towering, experienced candidate on hand.