Originally posted on Fox Sports West  |  By Abbey Mastracco  |  Last updated 7/24/14
HOLLYWOOD, Calif. -- A lot of schools wanted Brett Hundley to play football for them. The former five-star quarterback prospect had his pick of some vaunted, historic programs. So at the time, his decision to go with middling UCLA was somewhat confusing.  But now, as he enters his third season with the Bruins in the national championship conversation and himself an early front-runner for the Heisman Trophy, this is what Hundley was looking for all along.  "Everybody can go to an Alabama and just be another player. Everybody can go to a team that's already there and has its foundation built and just be another player," Hundley said. "I wanted to go and be a part of something special. I wanted to go some place where people say things can't be done and then do them." Football juggernauts aren't built in a season, but it's been a quick ascent since Jim Mora came aboard and named Hundley the No. 1 quarterback over two other starters just two short years ago. Picked to finish first in the Pac-12 South Division and finish second in the conference, UCLA has finally fostered a winning football culture. "I remember when I first got here my freshman year, there was nothing," Hundley said. "But now, to have those two wins over (USC) is huge. I remember my (redshirt) freshman year, coming off that first win, people crying, even fans were crying.  "Just to see all of that excitement, how much passion there is for that game in this city and state, being a part of it is something special." The coming out party began at the Rose Bowl in late 2012 when the Bruins finally took back the Victory Bell, an item symbolic of football success in the city of Los Angeles. It was fun a ride, but it almost came to a premature end.  The Bruins could have been at Thursday's Pac-12 Media Day at Paramount Studios under far different circumstances had a few events turned out different. The darlings of media day, they could have been fielding some far tougher questions with their head coach wearing a different color and their quarterback getting ready for rookie camp. Following the Bruins' win at the Coliseum last November, the Trojans hired a former Pete Carroll assistant in Steve Sarkisian. The hire left a vacancy at Mora's alma mater. A job he once considered a dream in the place he once considered home.  But he stayed, and soon thereafter, a commitment from Hundley to return for a third and final season came. "(Athletic director) Dan Guerrero went out on a limb when he hired me. Let's not kid anybody. I wasn't the most popular hire in the history of college sports, I can promise you that. He showed a real faith in me, and I appreciate that," Mora said. "I'm committed to our players. We go recruit these kids, go into their homes and talk to their parents and we ask them to commit to us. We see coaches run out on them, and I don't think that's right." This season, Mora will coach two of the most exciting players in the country in Hundey and linebacker/occasional running back Myles Jack. Next season, the Bruins will have their quarterback of the future in Josh Rosen, a five-star prospect out of nearby St. John Bosco who is considered one of the top quarterback recruits in the country.  So now what? The Bruins are looking more formidable than they ever have, but the juggernaut is still under construction. In the Mora era, UCLA is still 0-3 against Stanford, 0-1 against Oregon and has yet to win a Pac-12 Championship.  "I don't think they're satisfied," he said. "They understand there is a whole lot out there that they still need to accomplish to really confirm that we are who we want to be. But I'm excited about the growth." UCLA is not quite there yet. But with the leadership in place and the foundation built, the Bruins won't be going away anytime soon.  "We've done something at UCLA, we've helped build something," Hundley said. "But it won't mean nothing if we don't finish what we started."
MORE FROM YARDBARKER:
Will LSU have to sell their soul to find their next head coach?
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Sixers rookie Ben Simmons has fracture in foot

Olympic wrestler turned ISIS recruit killed in U.S. drone strike

Report: Jamaal Charles to play Sunday against Steelers

Dez Bryant says he will not play Sunday against 49ers

Bill O’Brien officially rules J.J. Watt out for season

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Eric Decker out Sunday with partial tear in rotator cuff

Report: Browns planning to part ways with Josh Gordon

Noah skips dinner at West Point because he's anti-war

Giants could use wide receiver at safety against Vikings

Ryan Tannehill does not mince words regarding offense

Russell Wilson on playing Sunday against Jets: ‘No doubt’

WATCH: Is it time for the Jaguars to fire Gus Bradley?

Combing through the crowded 2016 MLB MVP races

The Blue Jays and the meaning of a late season freefall

CFB Crash Course: Week 5 - Less one Les

Box Score: 9/30 - Dolphins, Popovich and MLB umps

Seven most absurd stats heading into NFL Week 4

Antonio Brown to honor Arnold Palmer with custom cleats

The best and worst from the 2016 World Cup of Hockey

Players Jurgen Klinsmann may call up for USMNT friendlies

Byron Scott has no relationship with D’Angelo Russell

Steve Kerr favors shorter NBA preseason to limit back-to-backs

Flaws of MLB replay system exposed in Cardinals’ victory

College Football News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

WATCH: Is it time for the Jaguars to fire Gus Bradley?

Combing through the crowded 2016 MLB MVP races

The Blue Jays and the meaning of a late season freefall

CFB Crash Course: Week 5 - Less one Les

NBA winners and losers: Gregg Popovich as a voice of reason

WATCH: Will LSU have to sell its soul to find its next head coach?

The clubhouse leaders for MLB Rookies of the Year

Goodbye, Ted: 20 years of highs and lows at Turner Field

Forza Horizon 3 review: Going Top Gear

NFL Kickoff Week 4: Guess what? The NFL is dying again

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker