Top UCLA LB recruit Mique Juarez: 'It was just too much pressure'

ByKevin Gemmell ESPN logo
Wednesday, September 21, 2016

UCLA freshman linebacker Mique Juarez, who has been absent from the team since early in fall camp, told the Southern California News Group that he has been seeing a psychiatrist to help cope with stress.

The highly touted linebacker was No. 30 in the 2016 ESPN 300 and the No. 4-rated linebacker in the country. After about the first week of camp, Juarez stopped coming to practice. Each time when asked about Juarez, head coach Jim Mora said the absence was excused.

"It was just too much pressure," Juarez said.

A school spokesman told ESPN the school can't comment on the story due to student-athlete privacy.

Juarez said he plans to return to the team. However, no one on the coaching staff has spoken publicly about the situation.

Senior defensive lineman Takkarist McKinley called out Juarez on Twitter on Monday, and Juarez responded by telling McKinley to "go on about your business." Mora addressed the spat during Tuesday's Pac-12 teleconference, saying it was a "non-issue."

Juarez continued to say the most frustrating part of his absence has been the speculation by others.

"I think the worst thing that really bothers me is some of the things people are saying," Juarez said. "Some of these articles people are writing. It was hard to believe this is what people are saying about me."

UCLA (2-1) opens Pac-12 play Saturday night when it hosts No. 7 Stanford (2-0) at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.