clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

2019 UCLA Football Fall Preview: The Offensive Line Has Standout Potential

While the offensive line has been a past liability, Bruin fans may be able to breathe a little this year as experience and recruiting are finally coming together.

NCAA Football: UCLA at Utah
Andre James (75) is off to the NFL, but Michael Alves (55) will help anchor the Bruins’ offensive line this season.
Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

The UCLA Bruins offensive line has been under the microscope for the last few years. Under the guidance of Adrian Klemm, the line was fledgling at best and, then, had quarterback Josh Rosen running for his life. With the hiring of Hank Fraley in 2017, the line saw improvement and made much more significant progress last year with Justin Frye’s coaching. The movement of Boss Tagaloa to center was a good move and gave the line a much needed anchor to build on. Let’s take a look at who we lost, who is returning, and the personnel that we added in the offseason.

Who’s Gone

  • Andre James
  • Justin Murphy
  • Josh Wariboko-Alali

Three players chose to leave the program after last season. Left tackle Andre James left school early for the NFL draft and is currently in training camp with the Oakland Raiders. This hurts the Bruins on two fronts, as UCLA need to replace both his skill and leadership as a veteran team member.

Justin Murphy was granted a sixth year of eligibility after he was sidelined twice in two years at Texas Tech, then missed six games due to a meniscus tear last year at UCLA. After his additional eligibility was granted, he chose to leave the program and has since turned up at the University of Houston.

Finally, Josh Wariboko-Alali chose to leave the program as a grad transfer.

Who’s Returning

  • Boss Tagaloa
  • Christaphany Murray
  • Michael Alves
  • Jake Burton
  • Alec Anderson
  • Jon Gaines
  • Baraka Beckett
  • Sam Marrazzo
  • Mohamed Khalil
  • Zach Cochrun

This year’s offensive line will more than likely gel quicker than the last two years. With Boss Tagaloa returning at center as the only senior, he will be the glue that holds this whole operation together. He clearly has the skill and leadership to do so. Sam Marrazzo will probably back up Tagaloa at center. Michael Alves will return at left guard and Jake Burton will be back at a right tackle. Burton took over when Murphy was injured last season. Look for Alec Anderson to back up Burton.

Christaphany Murray will be back for his sophomore season at right guard.

Additionally, Jon Gaines and Baraka Beckett will have their day in the sun to compete at the guard position.

Who’s New

  • Josh Carlin
  • Duke Clemens
  • Sean Rhyan
  • Beau Taylor
  • Brad Whitworth

The biggest get on signing day for the Bruins was clearly four-star offensive tackle Sean Rhyan, the number one offensive lineman in the state of California. At 6’6” and 300 pounds, this freshman is the future of the UCLA offensive line. He is a multi-sport athlete, with experience playing rugby, baseball, and track, and he also surfs. Look for Rhyan to be the starter at left tackle for the Cincinnati game.

Josh Carlin, the first offensive lineman to commit to the 2019 class, is another player who will add to the depth chart and is capable of playing anywhere on the line. He carries his plays through and sticks with his man until the final whistle is blown. Beau Taylor will be coming to UCLA from Bishop Gorman High School in Nevada and, while he may not see much of the field this year, he should be a key player in the future.

Duke Clemens was another early commit to the Bruins last December. He has played at both the guard and tackle positions and provides excellent blind side coverage. He has also played on the defensive line, but was really recruited as a guard. Finally, Brad Whitworth will be joining the team as a preferred walk-on, which means he won’t be on scholarship but will be guaranteed a roster spot.

Here is the projected two-deep depth chart:

2019 Offensive Line Projected Depth Chart

Left Tackle Left guard Center Right Guard Right Tackle
Left Tackle Left guard Center Right Guard Right Tackle
Sean Rhyan (Fr) Michael Alves (RJr) Boss Tagaloa (Sr) Christaphany Murray (So) Jake Burton (RJr)
Zach Cochrun (RSo) Jon Gaines (RFr) Sam Marrazzo (RSo) Baraka Beckett (RFr) Alec Anderson (RFr)

And here is a full roster of the 2019 offensive line:

2019 UCLA Offensive Line Roster

# Player Name Height Weight Year
# Player Name Height Weight Year
53 Luke Young 6-3 256 Fr.
55 Michael Alves 6-4 291 R-Jr.
56 Brad Whitworth 6-4 278 Fr.
57 Jon Gaines II 6-4 257 R-Fr.
62 Duke Clemens 6-3 269 Fr.
64 Sam Marrazzo 6-3 273 R-So.
65 Stephen DeFranco 6-4 277 R-Fr.
66 Mohamed Khalil 6-2 290 R-Fr.
67 Josh Carlin 6-5 312 Fr.
70 Alec Anderson 6-5 286 R-Fr.
71 Baraka Beckett 6-3 283 R-Fr.
72 Zach Cochrun 6-5 280 R-So.
73 Jake Burton 6-6 310 R-Jr.
74 Sean Rhyan 6-4 327 Fr.
75 Boss Tagaloa 6-1 318 Sr.
76 Christaphany Murray 6-2 293 So.
77 Beau Taylor 6-4 271 Fr.
78 Lucas Gramlick 6-8 307 R-Fr.

Final Thoughts

It’s time to see if last year’s development was actually growth and not an irregularity. This team has something to prove to the fan base and the offensive line will be a great place to start. While Rhyan will probably be one of the starting tackles, we may see another true freshman or two taking snaps and it will be important to get these new guys up to speed as soon as possible. Veterans will need to take that role to heart in order for the team to make progress.

Something else to note about the new guys is their connection to Coach Frye. UCLA is on its third offensive line coach in three years, but the new guys have made a connection that will prove important for the stability of the program. While there have been criticisms of Chip Kelly and his bedside manner with players, UCLA has found a gem in Frye as both a coach and a recruiter.

Go Bruins!