UCLA Offensive Line Grade And Why It’s Play Will Determine The Success Of The Team In 2022

"The Bruin Bible" Host and LAFB Writer Will Decker dives into how UCLA's offensive line is shaping up in 2022 and how 2 big transfers might just be exactly what the doctor ordered for the two tackle spots.

UCLA Offensive Linemen Warmup Before Final Game Of 2019 Season. Photo Credit: Ryan Dyrud | The LAFB Network
UCLA Offensive Linemen Warmup Before Final Game Of 2019 Season. Photo Credit: Ryan Dyrud | The LAFB Network

UCLA Offensive Line Grade And Why It’s Play Will Determine The Success Of The Team In 2022

The UCLA offensive line is a key point for the Bruins in the upcoming 2022 college season as they will be without two players that have been the model of consistency for the past few seasons as well as the offensive line coach that molded them.

UCLA Offensive Line Key Losses

LT Sean Rhyan, a 3-year starter, is someone that will be nearly impossible to replace in year one. Rhyan was an outstanding presence protecting the QB’s blind side who, according to PFF, allowed two sacks in over 1,100 career pass-blocking snaps. Rhyan can firmly put his name up there with the great tackles of UCLA in the past 30 years most notably Kolton Miller and Jonathan Ogden and will have a chance to start right away in the NFL for the Packers.

Alec Anderson was as solid of a right tackle as you will find in the PAC-12 and was constantly putting up solid rankings per PFF. 

Justin Frye, who was an outstanding o-line coach, has also taken his talents to Columbus, Ohio to do the same job for the Ohio State Buckeyes.

The Bruins will have to try to find a way to replicate the stability they have experienced in those areas in 2022.

New O-Line coach Tim Drevno, who has had previous stops most notably with USC, Michigan, Stanford, and the NFL’s 49ers, looks to mold a unit with some question marks back to being a top unit within the conference.

Returning Players

The experience of the line returns on the interior as center Sam Marrazzo and Jon Gaines II return with 29 and 30 appearances respectively of solid football, with both being thrown around by some preseason watch lists as All-PAC honorable mentions.

Antonio Mafi, the other guard, has three career starts last year after switching from the defensive side of the ball to offense in 2020.

After that, however, it gets trickier to predict.

Spring practice had a lot of question marks at the tackle spots. Garrett DiGiorgio, who started the lone game Alec Anderson missed in 2021 at right tackle, moved to the left side, and Josh Carlin, who saw action as a reserve on the o-line last year, had an up and down spring practice.

Former defensive linemen, Tyler Manoa, shifted to the O-line competing for one of the tackle spots in what was a thin group for the spring.

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Hitting In The Transfer Portal

Fear not though, as Chip Kelly found exactly what was needed for the Bruins on his grocery shopping list in the transfer portal with two big-time transfers: Raiqwon O’Neal and Jaylan Jeffers.

O’Neal, who was an All-Big 10 Honorable Mention selection for Rutgers in 2021, brings three years of starting experience over from a conference that routinely develops some of the best o-linemen in the country.

Jeffers is a transfer from Oregon who was incredibly talented out of high school as a highly rated 3-star who had offers from Michigan, LSU, and USC to go along with the Ducks.

O’Neal will likely take over in the Left Tackle position while Jeffers will battle Digiorgio and Carlin for the right spot with true freshman and local product Sam Yoon trying to get in on the mix….what would you grade UCLA’s offensive line coming into 2022?