May 8, 2021

DCTRS

Damascus Center for Theoretical and Civil Rights Studies

UCLA won’t need ink by the barrel on national signing day

It could be a national signing day without a signing, a formerly action-packed event without activity.

In the surest sign that UCLA doesn’t expect much to happen Wednesday, an athletic department spokesman said coach Chip Kelly was not expected to speak with reporters unless something changes.

The Bruins have signed 17 players and are expecting five transfers to play for them in 2021, with at least a few more transfers likely to come on board between now and the start of fall training camp.

The December signing period and the transfer portal have largely relegated the traditional February signing day to a non-event nationwide. Most schools are waiting on only a handful of high school players to finalize their college choices.

“I don’t think it’s that odd,” Greg Biggins, a national recruiting analyst for 247Sports, said of the situation UCLA is in. “I think most of the schools are pretty much 95% done after December minus a few elite kids they’re waiting on.”

UCLA had hoped to add Ieremia Moore, a defensive end from Bellflower St. John Bosco High, but he recently chose California. That means the Bruins’ class won’t budge much — if at all — from its 247Sports rankings of No. 4 in the Pac-12 Conference and No. 28 nationally.

Those rankings are significantly higher than they had been late last year, when the Bruins rose from next to last in the Pac-12 to No. 6 on signing day after successfully flipping a few highly coveted prospects. They have since added four-star running back Deshun Murrell and four-star defensive end Tiaoalii Savea, not to mention a trio of transfers in quarterback Ethan Garbers, safety Cameron Johnson and running back Zach Charbonnet.

Barring a late addition from the high school ranks, the rest of the newcomers also will be transfers.

“I think they’re confident they can add through the portal,” Biggins said, “and get kids that can come in and play right away.”