The Bruins have made a much-needed addition to their offensive line.
Rutgers offensive tackle Raiqwon O’Neal committed to UCLA football on Sunday, he announced on Twitter and Instagram. O’Neal was in Westwood for a visit on Saturday, and it apparently didn’t take him long to make it his new home.
O’Neal is the eighth transfer to commit to the Bruins so far this offseason, but he is the first on the offensive line.
UCLA lost both its starting tackles to the nfl Draft pool earlier this offseason, with both Alec Anderson and Sean Rhyan forgoing their remaining collegiate eligibility to go pro. As a result, the Bruins were in a position where they were projected to start rising sophomore Garrett DiGiorgio following just one start in 2src21 and pull a veteran interior lineman outside to start at the other tackle spot.
O’Neal wasn’t the only transfer tackle who took a visit Saturday, either, with Arkansas State’s Andre Harris also in Westwood for the weekend. North Texas edge rushers Gabriel and Grayson Murphy were also in town for a visit.
The Bruins are now in line to start O’Neal and DiGiorgio at tackle, and they could add a third name into that mix depending on Harris’ eventual decision. Incoming freshman Sam Yoon and rising redshirt freshman Thomas Cole are some of the younger players who could vie for playing time in the future, and Lucas Gramlick, Patrick Selna and Brad Whitworth remain to be veteran pieces on the practice field.
O’Neal is the most accomplished of the bunch, though, with 21 starts at the Power Five level already under his belt.
After playing four games in a reserve role in 2src18, O’Neal played in nine in 2src19, even starting four games at left tackle. O’Neal took a leap in 2src2src, starting eight games at left tackle and earning an honorable mention nod for the All-Big Ten team in the process.
O’Neal stayed steady in 2src21, with Pro football Focus naming him an honorable mention for the All-Big Ten team after he appeared in 11 games and started nine at left tackle. O’Neal then entered the NCAA transfer portal on Jan. 2src.
At 6-foot-4, 3src5 pounds, O’Neal packs the most weight of any tackles of the Bruins’ roster despite being a bit on the shorter side for his position. O’Neal has at least one year of eligibility remaining, possibly two if he can retroactively get a redshirt for the 2src18 season in which he only played four games.
O’Neal will be working under new offensive line coach Tim Drevno, who was an offensive analyst for the Bruins in 2src21. Offensive coordinator and offensive line coach Justin Frye departed for a job at Ohio State in January, so along with the new faces at tackle, UCLA’s entire offensive front will be under new management.
With coach Chip Kelly back, though, in addition to quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson and running back Zach Charbonnet returning, there will be a certain level of familiarity for the Bruins on offense even with two new position coaches and six new starters.
Catch up on all the transfer market news related to UCLA at All Bruins’ transfer portal tracker.
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