One of the more odd off-the-field stories of the 2016 season could be seeing yet another twist.
In August, Mique Juarez stopped showing up for UCLA’s practices a few days into summer camp because of what head coach Jim Mora described as an “excused” absence as the five-star recruit dealt with unspecified personal issues. The sabbatical extended throughout the entirety of what would’ve been the linebacker’s true freshman season, with Juarez revealing in September that he’s seeing a psychiatrist set up by his head coach as “[i]t was just too much pressure.”
Juarez and one of his Bruin teammates engaged in a less-than-amicable back-and-forth on Twitter around that time as well, which was essentially the last most had heard of the prized recruit when it came to his football future. Until, of course, Suarez took to another social media outlet to intimate that he might be returning to the Bruins football program.
UCLA has yet to address Juarez’s status with the football program moving forward. The Los Angles Daily News did note that Juarez has been attending classes during his absence from the football team, and he has remained in contact with the coaching staff during his absence as well.
Juarez was the highest-rated recruit for the Bruins in last year’s class, and the only five-star prospect pulled in by Mora that cycle. 247Sports.com had the California product rated as the No. 1 player at any position in his state and the top linebacker in addition to being the No. 11 recruit nationally on its composite board.
After enrolling early, Juarez was unable to participate in spring practice as previously planned because of a neck/head injury.