With UCLA soccer’s offseason winding down, it is time to begin looking forward to the 2022 marketing campaign and what lies forward for the Bruins on the gridiron. Earlier than scouting opponents and projecting the Pac-12 pecking order, it is best to look inside by choosing aside how UCLA will form up by itself sidelines.
All Bruins might be breaking down each place group over the following week, and the tight ends are up subsequent. To make amends for the positions already lined, have a look under:
Aug. 24: Quarterbacks
Aug. 25: Working Backs
Aug. 26: Vast Receivers
TE 1: Michael Ezeike, tremendous senior
TE 2: Hudson Habermehl, redshirt junior
TE 3: David Priebe, redshirt junior
TE 4: Jack Pederson, freshman
TE 5: Carsen Ryan, freshman
TE 6: Michael Churich, redshirt junior
TE 7: Grant Norberg, redshirt sophomore
TE 8: Sam Summa, redshirt freshman
Ever since Chip Kelly arrived in Westwood, the Bruins have had one of the productive tight finish items within the nation.
Caleb Wilson, Devin Asiasi and Greg Dulcich every put up huge numbers, all in speedy succession of one another. The following in line stays comparatively unclear heading into 2022, although, with not a lot established expertise left on the place.
Mike Martinez’s current departure throws a further wrench into the combo, robbing UCLA of their high blocking tight finish and altering Kelly’s plan for rotating his tight ends.
Ezeike, a yr and a half faraway from shifting over from receiver, is heading into his second season at tight finish. He is able to be the highest receiving goal at tight finish, contemplating he’s the one one who has recorded an in-game statistic.
The 6-foot-5, 252-pound veteran had three catches for 45 yards and a landing in 2021.
Habermehl seems to be to be the No. 2 tight finish in the meanwhile, however he has been a severe challenger for the No. 1 spot ever since spring camp. Like Dulcich, Habermehl got here in as a walk-on receiver earlier than altering positions and incomes a scholarship, and his 6-foot-6 body might assist him in reel in simply as many passes as his predecessor.
Priebe is probably the most skilled and projected high man behind these two, as he brings strong intangibles and blocking to the desk.
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Pederson and Ryan weren’t on the preliminary scout staff debuted Friday, so they seem like within the rotation as nicely. The pair of tight ends have been among the many Bruins’ high recruits this previous cycle, and Kelly’s intention to expire 4 tight ends at a time might assist them see the sphere immediately.
Churich, Norberg and Summa will probably function on particular groups, however might are available as additional blockers if the youthful choices aren’t getting the job finished within the operating sport.
Whereas Ezeike is the most important identify and most skilled possibility left within the tight ends room, he could not finish the yr with one of the best stats.
Ezeike had a number of robust drops final season and continues to be a query mark at his comparatively new place. Habermhehl, then again, has extra of Dulcich’s big-play tendencies and is already connecting nicely with quarterback Dorian Thompon-Robinson in observe.
Neither certainly one of them will have the ability to replicate Dulcich’s numbers on their very own, although, so there’ll most likely be extra two tight finish units and fixed rotation than previously.
Habermehl might finish the yr with 400 yards and some touchdowns on 25 catches, whereas Ezeike ought to are available just under that with 275 yards on 18 receptions.
As for the remainder of the group, there could also be a handful of touches to go round, however nothing vital. Ezeike leaving subsequent offseason, and Habermehl probably departing the yr after that, signifies that Pederson and Ryan might be extra essential to future UCLA groups than the 2022 version of the squad.
Nonetheless, Kelly and Thompson-Robinson have leaned closely on tight finish over the previous 4 years. It appears as in the event that they plan to do the identical, however as a result of there isn’t a transparent Dulcich substitute in home, the Bruins could have to take action by committee.
Habermehl is the darkish horse decide to steer the tight finish platoon, whereas Ezeike is certain to get his as nicely. As for Priebe, the freshmen and the walk-ons, Kelly and new tight ends coach Jeff Faris will certainly have them able to step in as efficient additional blockers at any time when crucial.
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