Karl Dorrell inherited several proven offensive players and many others who displayed potential when he replaced Bob Toledo at UCLA after the 2002 season.
A year later, three of the most talented players have left the program.
The latest is sophomore tailback Tyler Ebell, who told Dorrell on Friday that he is transferring. Earlier this week, junior receiver Tab Perry was dismissed because of academic problems. In early December, disgruntled sophomore quarterback Matt Moore left the program. As described in the UCLA media guide, Ebell was “one of the success stories of the 2002 season and established himself as an exciting performer.” He came off the bench in the fifth game against Oregon State to rush for 203 yards and started the rest of the season, finishing with 994 yards and 10 touchdowns in 234 carries.
However, he shared playing time with freshman Maurice Drew this season. Ebell rushed for 501 yards in 116 carries. Drew had 517 yards before tacking on 65 in the Silicon Valley Classic, which Ebell sat out because of a shoulder injury.
Ebell’s average per carry of 4.3 was slightly higher than the 4.2 mark he posted as a freshman.
“We certainly wish Tyler the best of luck in the future,” Dorrell said in a statement. “We hope that he will find a school that he feels meets his needs.”
Ebell, who declined comment, has limited options. He used his redshirt season in 2001 and would lose a year of eligibility by transferring to another Division I school, leaving him with only one season to play. He cannot transfer to another Pacific 10 Conference school because he would have to sit out two years, exhausting his eligibility.
He could transfer to a Division I-AA school and play two more years.
Regardless of where he lands, it will be a long drop. Despite his small stature, the 5-foot-9, 180-pound Ebell set national single-season records at Ventura High in 2000 with 4,495 yards and 64 touchdowns.
His departure leaves UCLA with Drew and senior Manuel White Jr. as the only experienced tailbacks. Jason Harrison, a junior who sat out nearly all of the 2003 season as he recovered from knee surgery, and redshirt freshman Derrick Williams also return.
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Ebell at UCLA
The rushing and receiving statistics of Tyler Ebell during his two seasons with UCLA:
*--* RUSHING Year Att Yds Avg TD 2002 234 994 4.2 10 2003 116 501 4.3 2 Totals 350 1,495 4.2 12 RECEIVING Year Rec Yds Avg TD 2002 12 72 6.0 0 2003 10 68 6.8 0 Totals 22 140 6.4 0