Stats: 13 games played, 31 tackles, 9 tackles for loss (43 yards), 5 sacks, 1 pass broken up, 1 forced fumble, 1 touchdown
What Stood Out: Uko was fourth on the team in sacks & third on the team in tackles-for-loss in 2012. Still only a sophomore, Uko increased his sack total by 3.5 this year. Uko has improved each year he’s been with the Trojans. Though USC got more productions out of their defensive ends, Uko has shown explosive ability and increased potential in his 2 years. Though the defensive line had a down year in 2012, Uko continued to show improvement in his second year and even registered a half sack in the Sun Bowl. Though his production will need to substantially increase in his junior year, Uko has progressed nicely and there is reason to be hopeful.
What Needed Work: Ideally, you’d like to see Uko produce higher numbers on the interior. With Breslin and Williams drawing much of the attention, Uko needs turn on the motor and get after the quarterback more. Additionally, Uko needs to increase productivity in tackling. The defensive line is the first wall of defense against the opposing run game and Uko trails the pack in terms of tackling numbers. The whole defensive line needs to be more productive, but Uko is one of those guys that should be leading the pack, not trailing it.
Final Word: Uko will be entering his 3rd season with the Trojans and Clancy Pendergast is the exact type of coach that’s going to allow Uko to succeed. He’s a hard-nosed coach with a penchant for aggressive tactics & Uko should thrive in that environment. Uko is going to be one of the veteran leaders of this defensive line in 2013 & he will need to play like it if USC is going to have any chance at success.