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Jason Kaufusi becomes latest member of UCLA’s football staff hired by Arizona

UCLA coach Chip Kelly on the sidelines
UCLA coach Chip Kelly will have another position on his staff to fill with the departure of outside linebackers coach and recruiter Jason Kaufusi.
(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

UCLA lost another one of its top football recruiters on Monday when Arizona hired outside linebackers coach Jason Kaufusi into an unspecified defensive role under coach Jedd Fisch.

Kaufusi becomes the second member of the Bruins’ staff to join Arizona in recent weeks after the school also made UCLA defensive line coach Johnny Nansen its defensive coordinator. Fisch had previously hired UCLA wide receivers coach Jimmie Dougherty into the same role on his staff before the 2021 season while former Bruins wide receiver Darren Andrews is a graduate assistant.

Kaufusi was widely considered one of UCLA’s more energetic recruiters and has strong ties in the Polynesian community, factors that made him attractive to Fisch as he tries to upgrade the team’s talent level.

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The Bruins’ defense under Kaufusi and Nansen finished second in the Pac-12 Conference this season in rushing yards allowed per game (124.2) and sacks logged per game (2.2). Linebacker Bo Calvert led the team with four sacks and edge rusher Mitchell Agude forced a conference-best 0.33 fumbles per game while adding 6½ tackles for loss.

Former USC defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast, an analyst on UCLA coach Chip Kelly’s staff, is serving as the Bruins’ defensive line coach during their Holiday Bowl game against No. 18 North Carolina State on Dec. 28 at Petco Park in San Diego.

UCLA wants to retain football coach Chip Kelly after he guided the team to its best season since 2015 and hopes to agree to a contract extension soon.


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