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UCLA Sports

The transfer portal is becoming the least exclusive club at UCLA

The UCLA football team on Spaulding Field on the campus of UCLA in Westwood.
The UCLA football team on Spaulding Field on the campus of UCLA in Westwood.
(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

UCLA linebacker Jayce Smalley and defensive lineman Ulysses Aburto joined the team’s recent wave of departures, becoming the 12th and 13th players to leave via the transfer portal.

Smalley, a redshirt sophomore, announced his intentions on Twitter, saying he planned to leave as a graduate transfer with two more seasons of eligibility after completing his undergraduate degree in June. Aburto, a freshman, confirmed his departure in a message to The Times.

Both players were walk-ons but Smalley had been a regular contributor in 2018, making six tackles and one tackle for loss while appearing in eight games as a reserve linebacker and on special teams. Smalley appeared in four games last season and would have had to compete with an influx of freshman linebackers for playing time. Aburto did not appear in a game.

Most of the players who have left UCLA via the transfer portal were not significant contributors with the exception of offensive lineman Christaphany Murray, receiver Theo Howard and linebacker Tyree Thompson. But Howard played in only one game last season because of hand injuries and Thompson sat out the entire season after surgery on his foot in training camp. Thompson would need to be granted a sixth year of eligibility to play elsewhere.


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