UCLA football received a commitment from a 2019 recruit on Monday night and it was a big one both figuratively and literally, as elite offensive tackle Sean Rhyan (San Juan Capistrano, CA/San Juan Hills) announced his pledge to the Bruins.
Since UCLA football offensive line coach Justin Frye got to Westwood last spring, he’s had one mission on the recruiting trail above all others: land the commitment of 4-star offensive tackle Sean Rhyan, an overall top-30 recruit in the country regardless of position and a dream prospect for Chip Kelly and his staff, who have Rhyan rated as the top lineman on their recruiting board.
Late Monday night, Coach Frye’s mission was emphatically accomplished, as the player rated by 247Sports as the best lineman in the West and the third-best offensive tackle in the country committed to the Bruins, giving Chip Kelly and Co. a foundational piece around which to build the 2019 recruiting class and a huge boost to the class at a position of emphasis in this recruiting cycle.
Rhyan, a 6-foot-5, 300-pound behemoth, is not your typical high school recruit in this day and age. He actively shys away from all manners of publicity, does almost no interviews and has no public social media footprint (with no Twitter presence at all). But Rhyan doesn’t need to yell into the universe with a social media megaphone because his play speaks for itself.
He is every bit the stereotypical mauler with a mean streak that most highly-rated offensive linemen are, but where Rhyan differentiates himself from almost every other lineman is with his rare athleticism: he has the balance of a surfer, the nimble feet and flexibility of a gymnast, the explosiveness of a track-and-field star, and the aggression of a rugby player. That’s probably because, according to Chris Trevino of 247 Sports ($), Rhyan actually surfs, grew up doing gymnastics, is a standout shot-putter, and stars as a rugby player in addition to football.
It seems safe to say that, in so many ways, Sean Rhyan is not your typical 300-pound lineman, and it’s precisely those diverse influences that have helped make him such a unique and ballyhooed prospect with an incredibly high ceiling.
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And for a coach like Chip Kelly, who heavily prioritizes athleticism, measurable physical attributes, and professional demeanor, an offensive line prospect like Rhyan is the kind that Kelly would have created himself in a lab. It could not be a more perfect fit between player and program.
By committing to UCLA, Rhyan becomes the 10th commit, the third offensive lineman, and the first composite 4-star commit in the Bruins’ 2019 recruiting class. The class isn’t even remotely close to full though, with the Bruins sitting at just 57 scholarship players even before the departures of a limited number of seniors after the conclusion of the 2018 season.
So, UCLA realistically could be looking at an incoming class of close to 30 players if it attempts to fill up as many scholarship spots as possible, which seems advisable given the depth issues that flared up so noticeably during the 2018 season.
After the Rhyan commitment, the Bruins look poised to sign a strong offensive line class, with 3-star lineman Sataoa Laumea (Rialto, CA/Eisenhower) looking like he will commit to the Bruins as well in the near future in addition to the three commits already on the books.
And with Early Signing Day looming a little more than two weeks away on December 19, Chip Kelly and his staff will be going pedal to the floor on the recruiting trail, racking up the mileage on the road for in-home visits and bringing in a ton of official visitors in order to try to close out a large chunk of their recruiting class during the Early Signing Period.
Welcome to Westwood, Sean!