It’s quite a haul for UCLA with return of three grad transfers, new quarterback
UCLA has put a big chunk of the band back together while leaving room for a new frontman.
After three graduate transfers announced Tuesday that they would return for the 2021 season, the Bruins landed a promising transfer quarterback when freshman Ethan Garbers said he was coming back to Southern California.
“I’m home … Westwood,” tweeted Garbers, the younger brother of California quarterback Chase Garbers and a former Corona del Mar High standout who spent last season redshirting at Washington.
Garbers led the Sea Kings to a state championship in 2019 as part of an undefeated season and projects as a possible replacement for UCLA quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson after Thompson-Robinson completes what’s expected to be his final college season in 2021.
Had he remained at Washington, Garbers would have had to compete with returning starter Dylan Morris, who will be a redshirt sophomore in 2021, as well as newcomer Sam Huard, the nephew of former Huskies star quarterback Brock Huard.
UCLA athletic director Martin Jarmond said he likes the energy and the fight of football coach Chip Kelly’s team, even though the Bruins finished under .500.
Garbers’ announcement that he was headed to UCLA capped what amounted to a bonus signing day for the Bruins.
Their ranks were bolstered across the board with the return of graduate transfer running back Brittain Brown, nickelback Qwuantrezz Knight and guard Paul Grattan Jr. Each player will capitalize on NCAA rules granting all players an additional season of eligibility in the wake of the pandemic.
“Let’s run it back 1 more time,” Brown tweeted, adding the hashtag #6thyear.
Brown will likely take over as the starting running back upon the departure of Demetric Felton Jr. for the NFL. Last season, Brown was the team’s second-leading rusher, averaging 77.5 yards per game, including a career-high 219 yards in the final game against Stanford.
Brown became a fan favorite for his hard-charging style in which he rarely went down upon initial contact, keeping his legs moving while sloughing off defenders.
Knight’s return will allow the Bruins to keep one of their top playmakers, not to mention most popular players. He was known for encouraging teammates and coaches alike, his lively, energetic voice carrying throughout the practice facility.
“I want to take this year to better myself and work towards being a complete player and better man,” Knight wrote on Twitter while announcing his return. “I can’t wait to get back to work with my teammates for one last ride.”
Playing a position known as a “striker” that coach Chip Kelly equated to a nickelback in UCLA’s new 4-2-5 defense, Knight collected 40 tackles, including 4½ for loss, to go with one sack, two quarterback hurries, two pass breakups and one fumble recovery.
Bruins defensive back Qwuantrezz Knight said on Twitter that he will return for a second season in Westwood and his sixth in his college career.
Grattan solidified an offensive line that capably replaced three starters, giving up 12 sacks in seven games and paving the way for the second-best rushing offense in the Pac-12 Conference after the Bruins averaged 230.6 yards on the ground per game.
Grattan accompanied the announcement of his return for a sixth year of college on Twitter with a GIF of Adam Sandler from the movie “Billy Madison.”
“Back to school, back to school,” the caption read. “To prove to Dad I’m not a fool.”
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