In UCLA Bruins football news today, Theo Howard took to Twitter to announce his transfer:
Howard has spent much of the 2019 season sidelined, seemingly due to injury. He had hand/wrist surgery during Fall camp, and never returned to consistent game action this year.
In his letter, he references his “limited participation” and desire to “openly explore the best opportunities to utilize [his] remaining eligibility”. This sounds an awful lot like a player who wasn’t ever going to see the field this year and needs to leave to get more playing time.
Howard logged 51 receptions for 677 yards and four touchdowns in the 2018 season and had very similar stats in 2017. So, clearly, he hasn’t had a drop off in production and proved his talent for two years.
Now, what does this mean for UCLA?
At the beginning of the season, it was looking like injuries were to blame for some of UCLA’s struggles. Howard was out, offensive lineman Alec Anderson was also out after surgery, Kazmeir Allen had an undisclosed injury, Joshua Kelley started off the season with a leg injury and finally came back, and that’s just a few. But, as the weeks went on, the Bruins proved that it was more complicated than that. Poor defensive tackling and a quarterback that just doesn’t seem to be meant to play quarterback are just two of the glaring issues UCLA is currently facing.
What about the huge numbers of transfers? Why are so many players choosing to go elsewhere?
This is often an issue during a coach’s first year. The scheme is new, so players may not fit and find themselves on the sidelines and look to other universities for an opportunity. But in October of year two, should we still expect to see players moving on from the program? Shouldn’t these issues have been worked out by now? The numbers indicate a much bigger problem at hand. Is the situation at UCLA really that bad?
If the word on the street is that UCLA is an undesirable place to be, expect the 2020 recruiting class to be at the bottom of the list.