Ishmael Adams Suspension Delivers UCLA A Big Blow

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UCLA head coach Jim Mora announced Tuesday cornerback and returner Ishmael Adams is suspended indefinitely, pending further investigation into his arrest over the weekend.

Adams was arrested and held on $100,000 bail Monday for allegedly stealing a cell phone from an Uber driver.

Mora is reserving further action for more details to surface. In the interim, losing Ishmael Adams might deliver a UCLA a bigger blow than if the Bruins had lost any other player. His value to the Bruins can’t be overstated.

Adams is a lock-down cornerback, sure. He opened his All Pac-12 2014 season with a pick-six against Virginia — the Bruins’ Week 1 opponent on Saturday. Adams was to be the cornerstone of a secondary that’s a decided strength for the 11th-ranked Bruins, and arguably one of the nation’s best units with the return of safety Randall Goforth.

But just as significant is the void Ishmael Adams’ suspension leaves on special teams.

Ishmael Adams’ 100-yard kickoff return for a score last September at Arizona State was UCLA’s first special teams touchdown since 2007. He very nearly had the program’s first punt return for a touchdown since 2005 in the Virginia game, but it was called on a lost helmet.

His overall performances against Arizona State and Virginia crystallize just how valuable a playmaker Adams is his, as he also ran back an interception 95 yards before halftime.

To lose a top weapon in one facet of the game is a blow; to lose a top weapon in two phases is downright devastating.

Adams’ absence opens more opportunities for Marcus Rios, whose interception of Jared Goff at Cal last October sealed a critical Bruin win. UCLA also needs talented Fabian Moreau to step up as the defense’s lock-down corner.

Moreau went without an interception for his first two-and-a-half years in the program. He’ll have to improve his ability to break on the ball to replace some of the production the defense loses without Adams.