UCLA Football 2018: Projecting the depth chart – Receivers and Tight Ends

PASADENA, CA - NOVEMBER 24: Theo Howard /

Go Joe Bruin continues to analyze the UCLA football team as we get closer to the 2018 season. Today we try to project the receiving and tight end depth charts.

No one knows what UCLA football head coach Chip Kelly has planned for his offense except for Chip Kelly, but we can take a guess. In our last depth chart projection, we looked at the offensive line and admitted that there could still be a lot of changes.


The same holds true for the receivers and tight ends, though these position groups might be easier to predict. The Bruins have a lot of talent among those that are eligible to catch the ball, but who is going to start and who is going to be in reserve?

Split End

  1. Theo Howard, 6-0, 182, Jr.
  2. Audie Omotosho, 6-2, 180, R-So.
  3. Stephen Johnson III, 5-10, 195, R-Jr.
  4. Kyle Phillips, 5-11, 180, Fr.


  1. Dymond Lee, 6-1, 187, R-Jr.
  2. Chase Cota, 6-4, 206, Fr.
  3. Delon Hurt, 5-11, 190, Fr.
  4. Ethan Fernea, 5-11, 192, Jr.

Slot Receiver

  1. Christian Pabico, 6-0, 198, R-Sr.
  2. Demetric Felton, 5-9, 184, R-So.
  3. Michael Ezeike, 6-5, 215, Fr.
  4. Antonio Brown, 5-11, 182, R-Fr.

Tight End

  1. Caleb Wilson, 6-4, 235, R-Jr.
  2. Devon Asiasi, 6-3, 250, R-So.
  3. Jordan Wilson, 6-4, 250, R-So.
  4. Matt Alaimo, 6-4, 220, Fr.
  5. David Preibe, 6-6, 230, Fr.
  6. Drew Platt, 6-2, 230, R-Jr.
  7. Connor Beadles, 6-2, 230, R-Fr.
  8. Greg Dulcich, 6-3, 210, Fr.

The split ends (or X receivers) will be the go-to receivers which makes sense that Theo Howard get the nod. He is an explosive pass catcher that has speed and technique. His talents will help get the Bruins down the field in a hurry. Though the Bruins will look for shorter, quick routes over downfield bombs, Howard will be the deadliest weapon for the Bruins in the passing game no matter what kind of route they call for him.

Audie Omotosho is another Bruin that has speed and skill and will be a solid backup to Howard. Behind him, Stephen Johnson and Kyle Phillips will battle for playing time. Depending on how Kelly wants to use his players and rotations, we could see both of these players in speed routes.

At flanker (or the Z position) Dymond Lee has seemed to have this position locked up. Lee did not see playing time last year, but he has made strides that have impressed the coaches enough to trust him with a starting spot. In this position, Lee will be expected to get into open space to get short, quick yards. Behind him, the Bruins will look to a few freshmen to help. Chase Cota is a big, athletic receiver that will turn a few heads this season. Not only does he have speed, but he will have the height advantage over shorter defensive backs, a mismatch Kelly will look to exploit.

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At the slot, former walk-on and now scholarship player Christian Pabico will be the third option. Last season he had the ball thrown his way a handful of times, but when he wrapped his fingers around the rock, he averaged 15.6 yards per reception, the most among all returning receivers. Backing him up could be a variety of players. Demetric Felton could see time in this position, though he could play a few different spots among the receivers. The interesting player at this spot is Michael Ezeike, a player that was recruited as a tight end but will play receiver this season. His flexibility to play both positions will make him a matchup nightmare, again, something Kelly is looking to use.

The tight end spot seems to be the easiest to predict as Caleb Wilson, one of the top tight ends in the nation, will continue to terrorize defenses. After injuring his foot in 2017, he will be looking to make a comeback with his speed, pass catching abilities and blocking technique, all of which will help UCLA’s offense move forward in Kelly’s uptempo style.

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Devin Asiasi is finally eligible as he came in as a transfer last season and will be another huge component for Kelly. He is very athletic and has solid hands. If UCLA ever uses a two-tight end set, expect Caleb and Asiasi to be in together. But let us not forget about Jordan Wilson who did a fine job filling in for Caleb when he went down with an injury in 2017. Though the Bruins might be set with these three TEs, if Kelly decides to go deeper into the depth chart, he will use the talent and versatility of Matt Alaimo and David Preibe.

UCLA is going to have several different players in many different formations and each one of them is going to need to know how the offense operates, so it is not just skill, but smarts that will keep players on the field. Kelly’s style will be run-based, but the pass is going to be important for getting yards in a hurry and deceiving defenses looking to stop the run.

The passing game will be based on trying to get players into open space and making plays. Not only will the receiver need to have sure hands, but they will also need to be aware of blocking assignments.

dark. Next. UCLA Football: 10 bold predictions for the 2018 season

In summation, it should be a very exciting part of the offense. The run game will move the Bruins forward, but the passing game will help them take off. Though it might be slow going at first, expect things to be kicked into high gear by midseason.