During the season, Los Angeles Chargers linebacker Eric Kendricks has been a main contributor to the Bolts’ defense. He is third on the team with 53 solo tackles and 76 total tackles as of Week 13.
Kendricks led the Chargers with 10 total tackles while executing one sack and two tackles for loss in their 6-0 win over the New England Patriots.
Kendricks, a Fresno native, signed with the Chargers last March after competing for the Minnesota Vikings for eight seasons. Defending Los Angeles is nothing new for Kendricks as he had a historical run playing for the UCLA Bruins from 2010 to 2014. For three seasons, Kendricks led the Bruins in tackles.
He earned national acclaim during the 2014 season when he led the nation in solo tackles per game with 7.8. His efforts would earn Kendricks the Lott IMPACT Trophy. He also became the first UCLA player to earn the Butkus Award. Kendricks noted that winning the Butkus Award was an aspiration of his.
“It didn’t really become realistic until my junior or senior year but I tried not to think about that when I was playing,” Kendricks said. “It was hard to ignore but I just tried to play ball and it all took care of itself.”
To this day, Kendricks is the Bruins’ all-time leader in tackles with 481. Being a Bruin was a dream of Kendricks as he developed into a stand-out athlete at Hoover High School in Fresno. Going to UCLA made him a legacy athlete as his late father Horace Marvin “Marv” Kendricks played running back for the Bruins in the early 1970’s.
“I always heard my dad talking about how much he loved it,” Kendricks said. “When I finally got the UCLA offer that’s where I went. That was my dream school anyway so it didn’t matter how much I got recruited from then.”
Prior to his stint at UCLA, Marv played for Riverside City College where he led the Mission League in rushing for two consecutive seasons, becoming a two-time MVP. He played 21 games for UCLA, racking up 1,155 rushing yards and scoring 11 touchdowns.
Legendary L.A. Sentinel sports editor Brad Pye reported on Marv breaking UCLA’s single-game rushing record in November 1970. In a 45-20 victory over the USC Trojans, Marv rushed for 182 yards.
Marv ultimately played for the Canadian Football League and for the Portland Storm of the short-lived World Football League. Marv was inducted into the Riverside City College Hall of Fame in 2019.
Kendricks used the career of his older brother Mychal Kendricks as a guiding light for his own career. Mychal played for the University of California from 2008 to 2011 and became the 2011 Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year.
“I feel like my brother was a cheat code for me,” Kendricks said. “Anything that he made a mistake on, I was able to correct myself or anything that he did really well, I was able to … see how it works for me.”
Mychal was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles and played there for six seasons. Mychal and the Eagles would usually defeat Kendricks and the Minnesota Vikings. One meeting was the 2017 NFC Championship game where the Eagles defeated the Vikings 38-7. Philadelphia ultimately won Super Bowl LII.
“He has the bragging rights about me in the pros,” Kendricks said. “I’m at least happy he won a Super Bowl. I’m not happy they beat us to get there, but at least he didn’t lose in the Super Bowl.”