Rutgers offensive tackle Raiqwon O’Neal announces transfer to UCLA Football

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The Bruins have made a much-needed addition to their offensive line.

Rutgers offensive tackle Raiqwon O’Neal committed to UCLA football on Sunday, he announced on Twitter and Instagram. O’Neal was in Westwood for a visit on Saturday, and it apparently didn’t take him long to make it his new home.

O’Neal is the eighth transfer to the Bruins so far this offseason, but he’s the first on the offensive line.

UCLA lost its two starting tackles to the NFL draft pool earlier this offseason, with Alec Anderson and Sean Rhyan giving up their remaining college eligibility to turn pro. As a result, the Bruins were in a position where they needed to start moving up sophomore Garrett DiGiorgio after just one start in 2021 and pull a veteran inside lineman on the outside to start at the other tackle point.

O’Neal wasn’t the only transfer tackle to visit on Saturday, either, with Arkansas State’s Andre Harris also in Westwood for the weekend. North Texas rushers Gabriel and Grayson Murphy were also in town for a visit.

The Bruins are now in line to start O’Neal and DiGiorgio at tackle, and they could add a third name to that mix depending on Harris’ eventual decision. Incoming freshman Sam Yoon and redshirt freshman Thomas Cole are among the young players who could compete for playing time in the future, and Lucas Gramlick, Patrick Selna and Brad Whitworth remain veterans on the training ground.

O’Neal is the most accomplished of the group, however, with 21 starts at the Power Five level already under his belt.

After playing four games in a reserve role in 2018, O’Neal played nine in 2019, even starting four games at left tackle. O’Neal has surged in 2020, starting eight games at left tackle and earning an honorable mention for the All-Big Ten team in the process.

O’Neal has held steady in 2021, with Pro Football Focus naming him an honorable mention for the All-Big Ten team after appearing in 11 games and starting nine at left tackle. O’Neal then entered the NCAA transfer portal on January 20.

At 6-foot-4 and 305 pounds, O’Neal has the most weight of any tackle on the Bruins roster, though he’s a bit shorter for his position. O’Neal still has at least a year of eligibility left, possibly two if he can retroactively get a redshirt for the 2018 season in which he played just four games.

O’Neal will work under new offensive line coach Tim Drevno, who was an offensive analyst for the Bruins in 2021. Offensive coordinator and offensive line coach Justin Frye left for a job at Ohio State in January, so with the new tackle faces, UCLA’s entire offensive front will be under new management.

With the return of coach Chip Kelly, in addition to quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson and running back Zach Charbonnet returning, there will be a certain level of familiarity for the Bruins up front, even with two new position coaches and six new starters.

Find all the latest UCLA-related transfer market news on the All Bruins transfer portal tracker.

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