UCLA’s Rayshad Williams joins fellow defensive back Elijah Gates in transfer portal

UCLA defensive back Rayshad Williams breaks up a pass intended for Arizona wide receiver Jamarye Joiner on Nov. 28, 2020.
Defensive back Rayshad Williams breaks up a pass intended for Arizona wide receiver Jamarye Joiner during UCLA’s 27-10 win on Nov. 28.
(Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated Press)

Rayshad Williams on Friday became the second veteran UCLA defensive back to enter the transfer portal, joining Elijah Gates after Gates had said earlier in the week that he would leave as a graduate transfer.

Williams, a redshirt sophomore, announced his decision to leave the Bruins on Twitter while thanking coaches and saying he intended to find a new football home for the 2021 season.


Williams and Gates were once part-time starters whose roles shrank last season, when they both were exclusively reserves. But Gates tied fellow defensive backs Stephan Blaylock and Jay Shaw for the team lead with two interceptions in 2020, including one against Arizona that led to a sideline celebration with coach Chip Kelly.

“I think you guys get caught up a little bit too much in the depth chart because he plays a ton in our dime package and he played a lot of football for us and has been awesome,” Kelly said the following week when a reporter asked about the exchange with Gates. “I’m a huge Elijah fan, and he’s doing a lot of different things. He may not be the starting safety in base, but we’re not in base all that often. We’re in dime a lot, and he plays a lot for us in dime and he’s worked extremely hard.”

Without surefire NBA prospects, UCLA has jumped to a 12-2 overall record and is 8-0 in Pac-12 Conference play, its best conference start since 1983.

Jan. 22, 2021

Williams finished last season with nine tackles and one pass breakup in six games.

Walk-on running back Cole Kinder has also entered the transfer portal, saying his departure was tied to seeking more opportunities to contribute in games with the Bruins well-stocked at the position heading into next season.