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2018 UCLA Football Fall Preview: Youth Abounds on the Bruin Defensive Line

UCLA is looking to replace its starters while switching from a 4-3 to a 3-4 defense.

Osa Odighizuwa looks to have a chance to start on the Bruin defensive line this season.
Joe Piechowski

Last week at Pac-12 Media Day, UCLA coach Chip Kelly spoke about the youth of his team. Nowhere may that be more evident than on the defensive line.

There isn’t a single senior among the group and there are only three juniors. At the same time, the projected depth chart looks to contain some pretty familiar names.

Before we get to that, however, let’s talk about who the defensive line has lost.

Personnel Changes

Who’s Gone: The Bruin defensive line loses two starters, two guys who saw significant playing time last season and two more guys who didn’t see any playing time. The starters who have graduated are Matt Dickerson and Jacob Tuoiti-Mariner. Two other guys that are gone are Nick Terry, who was also a senior last season, and Greg Rogers, who came in as a much-heralded freshman and opted to transfer. The two guys who didn’t see the field are Chiemeka Ochi and Graham Valentine.

Who’s New: JC Transfer Steven Mason plus incoming freshmen Tyler Manoa, Ethan Matus, Winston Polite, Atonio Mafi, Otito Ogbonnia.

Here’s the complete defensive line roster.

2018 UCLA Football Defensive Line Roster

# Player name Height Weight Year
# Player name Height Weight Year
44 Martin Andrus, Jr. 6-1 298 So.
50 Tyler Manoa 6-4 290 Fr.
51 Ethan Matus 6-5 250 Fr.
53 Winston Polite 6-3 265 Fr.
55 Steven Mason 6-4 255 Jr.
66 Atonio Mafi 6-2 380 Fr.
85 Moses Robinson-Carr 6-4 280 So.
90 Rick Wade 6-6 275 R-Jr.
91 Otito Ogbonnia 6-4 315 Fr.
92 Osa Odighizuwa 6-2 280 R-So.
93 Chigozie Nnoruka 6-1 294 R-Jr.
95 Marcus Moore 6-2 255 R-So.
97 Odua Isibor 6-3 250 R-Fr.

Of the newcomers, I think Steven Mason, Atonio Mafi and Otito Ogbonnia probably stand to make the biggest immediate impact.

Projected Depth Chart

Projected depth charts are tough to construct because there can be so much flexibility when camp opens, but I’m going to give this a shot.

2018 Defensive Line 2-Deep Projected Depth Chart

Defensive End Nose Tackle Defensive End
Defensive End Nose Tackle Defensive End
Rick Wade Chigozie Nnoruka Osa Odighizuwa
Marcus Moore Martin Andrus, Jr. Moses Robinson-Carr

I think the starters are pretty likely, but, like any depth chart at this time of the year, this could see lots of changes as the team works through Fall Camp.

Go Bruins!!!