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UCLA tackle Jake Burton transfers to Baylor

 Jake Burton (73), offensive line, at fall football camp practice at the Wasserman Football Center on  July 31, 2019
Redshirt senior Jake Burton (73) is leaving UCLA in hopes of landing on a team that will play football this fall.
(Gary Coronado/Los Angeles Times)

UCLA won’t play football this fall, but some of its players might.

Starting right tackle Jake Burton announced on Twitter that he has committed to Baylor. Burton entered the transfer portal Tuesday with hopes of finding a new team that will compete in the coming months.

“I was looking forward to finishing my college career with my Bruins teammates,” Burton said in a tweet announcing his departure. “Due to circumstances beyond anyone’s control, that is not possible this year. After much thought, I have decided to enter the portal in hopes of gaining the opportunity to play football this Fall.”

The departure of Burton, a redshirt senior, means the Bruins must replace three of their starting offensive linemen from last season. Center Boss Tagaloa graduated and guard Christaphany Murray entered the transfer portal earlier this year.

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UCLA’s Dorian Thompson-Robinson says he’s been able to re-examine what’s important during the coronavirus crisis that threatens his junior season with the Bruins.

UCLA appears to be getting one replacement in Paul Grattan, a three-year starter at Villanova who has announced he’s headed to Westwood as a graduate transfer. A first team-team All-Colonial Athletic Assn. selection in 2019, Grattan can play center and guard.

The Bruins also have several candidates on their roster to move into larger roles, including Sam Marrazzo and Jon Gaines II, alongside presumptive starting tackle Sean Rhyan and starting guard Duke Clemens.

But there’s no denying that the loss of Burton is significant. He started every game last season and 11 of 12 games in 2018 as part of a line that helped running back Joshua Kelley record back-to-back 1,000-yard rushing seasons. Quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson tweeted a frowning emoji over a report announcing Burton’s departure.

Coach Chip Kelly recently acknowledged the potential for players to transfer to conferences that intend to hold fall seasons.

“There could be,” Kelly said when asked about the possibility earlier this month. “You deal with that on a one-off basis, if that were to happen. We understand what the ramifications of what our decisions are, but that’s always a possibility.

“We’ve had kids at the lower levels reach out to us when their seasons — you know, the Ivy Leagues and whatnot that had seniors that were looking to play — had reached out about playing in the fall, if we were going to play in the fall. So yeah, that is a possibility.”


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