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UCLA football to lose 6 players to transfer portal after end of regular season

Coach Chip Kelly looks on before UCLA football’s game against California. Kelly and the Bruins have lost six players to the transfer portal since the end of the regular season. (Chelsea Westman/Daily Bruin staff)

By Jon Christon

Dec. 1, 2021 6:07 p.m.

Six out-of-state Bruins are saying goodbye to Westwood.

UCLA football (8-4, 6-3 Pac-12) lost six players to the transfer portal after the regular season ended Saturday. Redshirt freshman linebacker Myles Jackson kicked things off Sunday afternoon with a Tweet announcing his intentions of leaving the program before five others followed suit in the ensuing days.

Between Monday and Wednesday, sophomore punter Luke Akers, freshman linebacker AJ Campbell, freshman defensive lineman Tyler Kiehne, redshirt freshman quarterback Parker McQuarrie and sophomore defensive back DJ Warnell all confirmed on their social media that they had entered the transfer portal.

The only starter among those transferring, Akers has appeared in every game over the past two seasons. The sophomore has been limited to punting duties in his two years as a Bruin – averaging 43.1 yards per punt – after entering the program in a battle with redshirt sophomore kicker Nicholas Barr-Mira for the placekicking duties.

(Jeremy Chen/Daily Bruin staff)
Sophmore punter Luke Akers boots a ball in UCLA's loss to Utah earlier this season. (Jeremy Chen/Daily Bruin staff)

“Thank you to all of my Coaches and Teammates at UCLA for all the memories I’ve made these past 2 seasons,” Akers wrote in a Tweet. “I’m so grateful for all of the lifelong friends I have made. I’ve decided to enter the transfer portal with 3 yrs of eligibility left. I wish nothing but the best for y’all.”

Barr-Mira has punting experience and could replace him for UCLA’s upcoming bowl game.

A three-star recruit from Weare, New Hampshire, McQuarrie did not see game action after arriving in 2020. With the departure, the Bruins still have five other quarterbacks on the roster with eligibility for next season and will welcome four-star recruit Justyn Martin to the quarterback room for the 2022 campaign.

On the defensive side of the ball, Jackson and Warnell leave a UCLA defense that could graduate most of its starters. Both have game experience, as Jackson registered seven tackles in eight career games while Warnell saw action both at safety and on special teams, earning 11 tackles in 16 total contests.

“Thank you to all my coaches and teammates for the memories that i’ve made here. It’s been an unbelievable season I’ll never forget it,” Jackson wrote in a Tweet. “I’ve decided to enter the transfer portal with 4 years of eligibility left. I wish all my teammates and coaches the best.”

Neither Campbell nor Kiehne saw the field in their only year donning the blue and gold.

“Thank you to UCLA for taking me in during these short couple of months,” Campbell wrote in a statement posted on Twitter. “This has been an experience I will never forget and I have built bonds that will last a lifetime. Unfortunately, my situation here did not workout and I have decided to enter into the transfer portal with 4 years of eligibility still left. I hope the best for everyone apart of the UCLA organization. I am open to every and all schools moving forward…”

Kiehne also posted a statement on Twitter.

“I am honored and grateful to have been able to attend UCLA and be apart of UCLA’s football family,” Kiehne wrote. “I want to thank all of my coaches for their time and for giving me the opportunity to attend this amazing university. I have made lifelong friends and memories here, and I wish you all the very best. With that being said, I have decided to step away from UCLA and enter the transfer portal with four years of eligibility left. I am excited to see what God has in store for my future!”

All six will likely be immediately eligible at their next school under the NCAA’s new transfer legislation because they are all first-time transfers.

UCLA is currently waiting on bowl selections, which will come Sunday.

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Jon Christon | Sports senior staff
Christon is currently a Sports senior staff writer. He was previously the Sports editor on the men's basketball and football beats and the assistant Sports editor on the women's basketball, softball, men's tennis and women's tennis beats. Christon was previously a contributor on the women's basketball and softball beats.
Christon is currently a Sports senior staff writer. He was previously the Sports editor on the men's basketball and football beats and the assistant Sports editor on the women's basketball, softball, men's tennis and women's tennis beats. Christon was previously a contributor on the women's basketball and softball beats.
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