Name: Damian Sellers
Position: Outside Linebacker
Hometown: Scottsdale, Arizona
High School: Saguaro High School
Weight: 224 lbs
A four-star linebacker from Scottsdale, Arizona, Damian Sellers may end up being the best and most important recruit of Kelly’s 2020 class. Sellers is an elite pass rusher that was heavily recruited coming out of high school. His final three years at Saguaro saw him accumulate 166 tackles, 23.5 sacks, and three fumble recoveries. His senior year saw him produce 23.5 tackles for loss, 8.5 sacks, and 1 fumble recovery.
Sellers had offers from nineteen different colleges coming out of high school. Among those were LSU, Oklahoma, Alabama, Auburn, Penn State, Florida, Oregon, USC, and Arizona State. That he chose to attend UCLA out of all these schools is quite the win for Kelly.
But it wasn’t a hard sell for Sellers, who decided to commit to UCLA after just his first official visit to the school. Shortly after that visit, he canceled his scheduled trips to Oregon and LSU. Sellers spoke positively about his interaction with UCLA Head Coach Chip Kelly, citing both the direction of the program on the field and the elite academics that UCLA offers off the field. He also picked UCLA because of the relatively close proximity to his home state, as well as the opportunity to play right away as a freshman.
Sellars leaves his Saguaro days with high praise from his high school coaches. Jason Mohns, one of his high school coaches, had this to say about Sellers:
“UCLA is getting a game-changing pass rusher who is one of the very best outside linebacker prospects in the country. Big, long, athletic freak who is a very versatile defender with the ability to play in space or put his hand down. Damian is well-liked by his teammates and will be a great addition to the Bruins on and off the field.”
Meanwhile, Kyle Caldwell, another one of Saguaro’s coaches, said this on Twitter regarding Sellers:
“Some of the most dominating film you will find. [Damian Sellers] was coachable from day one. Long, strong, and violent play all over this senior film. Can’t wait to watch him continue to grow and destroy offenses. Best of luck DS!”
UCLA’s defense could certainly use the retool, as their 26 team sacks tied for 6th in the Pac-12 last year. Their overall defense was one of the worst in the country. One player can only do so much, but the presence of Sellars will hopefully invigorate and immediately improve what was otherwise a lifeless defense for the Bruins.
Sellars comes out of high school as an outside edge rusher, but during his visit at UCLA, the coaches spoke with him about playing on the inside as well, and Sellars was open to it.
“He certainly has a motor,” Kelly said of Sellars. “He was a highly rated kid for a reason; he’s one of the top edge rushers in the country and we’re really, really excited for him to be a part of this class.”
Sellars comes to LA at a great time with an ability to make a much-needed impact right away. UCLA lost all four of their starting linebackers from last year, including the likes of Josh Woods and Keisean Lucier-South. Sellers will look to step in, fill the void, and immediately make an impact for this Bruins team.