Laiatu Latu has been named to the watch list for the 2022 Comeback Player of the Year.

The 61-man watch list was announced on Wednesday by the College Sports Communicators in association with The Associated Press and the Fiesta Bowl Organization. The award recognizes players overcoming injury, illness, or other circumstances. Latu is one of seven players from the Pac-12 on it.

A 6-foot-4 linebacker for the Bruins, Latu is starring this season for a 6-0 team and a much-improved defense. And he’s doing so after sitting out the past two college football seasons because of a neck injury that forced him to medically retire. 

Latu began his career at Washington, where he played right away in 2019. He transferred to UCLA this offseason and currently leads the Bruins with 6.5 sacks — a mark that ranks second nationally. The Sacramento native also has 19 tackles, seven tackles for loss, two forced fumbles, and a pass breakup.

“I love the game so much and it really just feels good to be out there and playing with these guys,” he said earlier this season.

The Comeback Player of the Year Award recognizes college football student-athletes from all divisions of college football for overcoming injury, illness, or other circumstances.  At the conclusion of each season, in a vote by a panel of writers, editors, and sports information directors, three college football student-athletes will be honored as Comeback Player of the Year Award winners at the College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Vrbo Fiesta Bowl.

Latu and the Bruins take the field next against Oregon on Oct. 22. The game is scheduled for a 12:30 p.m. PT kick on FOX/FS1.