Our OL situation is not looking as desperate as it was last Fall. It's not where we need an above average program to be yet but Coach Palcic now has few more options via a healthy Sean Sheller (who is working hard to get back in full form), a bigger and more physical Nate Chandler (who is settling in at OL spot) and Kai Maivia at C. So it's a little bit more managable. Palcic is hoping he will lot more options this Fall. If everything works out he is going to have some athletes competing hard for the 2 deeps during late summer/early Fall camp.
While many of us will be looking forward to arrivals of the X-Man (Xavier Su'a-Filo) and Stan Hasiak to shore up our OL next season don't forget if everything works out we will also have three JC transfers competing for PT next Fall.
One of them OG Ryan Taylor (6-3 305) from Tyler Junior College is already on campus enrolled this quarter and partaking in spring football. Dohn talked to the Texan got the following takes on him adjusting to practice pace at UCLA:
"Probably getting to the linebacker level is what I'm doing best," Taylor said. "The speed from junior college to here is a little different. The D-linemen, they're a little faster. I haven't gotten used to that speed.
"It's more like a job than anything. It's a big business. It wasn't like that in junior college. The meetings are a whole lot more strict."
In addition to Taylor, UCLA is also hoping JC transfers Eddie Williams (a 6-0, 331 OG from Mt. Sac) and Shawn Johnson (6-5, 295 OT from College of the Canyons) can join the program in June. Dohn had the following update on Williams:
In talking to a few of my sources at UCLA the last few days, they are expecting JUCO offensive lineman Eddie Williams, who played at Mt. San Antonio junior college, to be enrolled in June and compete for playing time once August training camp arrives.
And on Johnson:
Johnson said his academics are progressing, and he is taking four classes this semester. He said he has received the necessary grades so far, and is looking forward to playing at UCLA.
Johnson also told Dohn that he is planning to enroll at UCLA in late June.
From my experience of reading recruiting stories for almost a decade, I have learned not to count on these updates concerning JC kids all that much until they have actually been able to enroll at UCLA. UCLA admissions process for athletes looking to transfer from KC institution tend to be interesting. So hopefully it will all work out of these guys. If they are able to take care of their academic requirements and are able to join the program in June, they will be a huge boost to Palcic's effort to revamp the decimated OL from last season.
Combine them with the freshmen talent such as Stan Hasiak and the X-Men, we will have one of the more competitive Fall practices for the starting OL spots, we have had in Westwood in years. So let's cross our fingers and hope Eddie, Shawn (and also Brandon Warner) can fulfill all their requirements to enroll at UCLA in the coming months.