On Wednesday, Asiantii Woulard declared that he was transferring from UCLA Football. On Tuesday, defensive back Priest Willis said he was transferring. Last week, DB Jalen Ortiz said that he was transferring. A few weeks ago, senior WR Devin Lucien said he was transferring and as it turned out, he will be heading to Arizona State.
That leaves one question… what is going on with all these transfers?
Well, first off, there is no reason to be alarmed. One of the positives here is that head coach Jim Mora has stacked this team with depth and talent. The down side is that you cannot play 80+ players with only 11 positions available on both offense and defense. Though Mora has brought in a lot of talent, a lot of that talent is going to be left out.
That seems to be the case with most of these transfers. The UCLA coaching staff has been a national presence in recruiting and has done incredible things developing players. With that being said, the amount of depth the Bruins have at several positions can afford them the loss of a few players.
Let us start with Lucien. It was puzzling when news first broke that he would transfer with the prospect of being a key starter, but for whatever reason, he chose to go.
Nov 22, 2014; Pasadena, CA, USA; UCLA Bruins wide receiver Devin Lucien (15) catches a touchdown pass against the Southern California Trojans during the first half at the Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports
What that does now is open up a spot on the depth chart. Looking at who the Bruins have remaining will ease Bruin fans concerns. Just to name a few, there is Jordan Payton, Devin Fuller, Mossi Johnson, Eldridge Massington, Jordan Lasley, Alex Van Dyke, Austin Roberts and even TE/Y-receiver Thomas Duarte.
Sep 25, 2014; Tempe, AZ, USA; Arizona State Sun Devils wide receiver Jaelen Strong (21) is tackled by UCLA Bruins defensive back Priest Willis (15) at Sun Devil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
With Ortiz and Willis transferring, that opens up two spots in the secondary, which is a concern. With Willis not a lock to start and Ortiz guaranteed to be a back-up, it is easy to see why they would go.
Currently, UCLA has 15 defensive backs on the roster with five more joining the team this summer as they prep for fall camp. So even though there are two players leaving the secondary, the Bruins are well stocked in that department.
Now the transfer that hurts is Woulard who, with an outside chance, could have been the starter. But more than likely, he would have been the back-up to in-coming freshman Josh Rosen. Having already been a back-up his last three years in Westwood, it is understandable that he would want to be the #1 QB right now, prompting the move. Though he would have been a reliable #2 man, his transfer makes the QB depth very thin.
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Now as transfers are concerned as a whole, these do not fall under “end-of-the-world” status. Though a few transfers more could tip it in that direction.
Still, for now you can breathe a sigh of relief Bruin fans. As stated above, Mora has stacked this program with talent and a lot of it. Though we thank these Bruins leaving program for their time, there are a lot more players staying that we will be thankful for in the future.