After taking a big swipe at one Ivy League lineman last offseason, the Bruins are moving into another early this cycle.
UCLA football sent an offer to defensive end Jake Heimlicher on Wednesday, the UPenn graduate announced on Twitter. Heimlicher entered the transfer portal on Monday after five seasons in Philadelphia and crowned it with one of the best defensive seasons in the entire FCS.
Heimlicher’s first offers after announcing his transfer intentions came from Ohio and UNC Charlotte, but the Bruins were the first Power Five program to reach that point in recruiting him. Fresno State also offered later Wednesday.
UCLA got a commitment from Harvard defenseman Jacob Sykes ahead of the 2022 campaign, and he’s been the team’s most consistent presence inside this season. Heimlicher is another player, coming from a different system, but that’s why coach Chip Kelly and his staff want to return to this well-trained well.
Heimlicher joined Penn in 2018 and redshirted his freshman year. After 14 tackles, 2.0 tackles for loss and 1.0 sack in 2019, all of Ivy’s 2020 seasons were abandoned. The edge rusher returned with a vengeance in 2021, amassing 51 tackles, 12.5 tackles for loss, 7.5 sacks and 12 quarterback hurries route to an All-Ivy League honorable mention spot.
The 2022 season went even better for Heimlicher, who formed the All-Ivy First Team and the All-Academic Team. Heimlicher was named a finalist for FCS National Defensive Player of the Year after recording 9.0 sacks as the Ivy League-best, along with 47 tackles, 13.0 tackles for loss, an interception, a forced fumble and 10 quarterback hurries
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After high school, Heimlicher had additional offers from Cal, Colorado, Wyoming, Hawaii, Air Force, Brown, Princeton, Montana State, and Northern Colorado. The product of Regis Jesuit High School (CO) was a two-star recruit and ranked No. 11 in Colorado, according to 247Sports.
UCLA’s defensive line was gutted by graduation and transfers after the 2021 season, but there could be more holdovers going into 2023. The only defensive tackles or edge rushers not eligible are Sykes, the often-injured Martin Andrus Jr. and sixth-year full-back Bo Calvert.
The Bruins will have to wait and see what Gabriel and Grayson Murphy, Laiatu Latu, Gary Smith and Carl do in the offseason, plus any underclassmen who might be flirting with the transfer portal themselves.
Heimlicher still has one year of college eligibility.
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