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Oregon Transfer D-Lineman Keanu Williams Commits to UCLA Football

All Bruins on FanNation logo All Bruins on FanNation 1/29/2023 Sam Connon
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The Bruins made an addition at a major position of need, bringing in another player from a Pac-12 rival on Saturday.

Another Duck is set to become a Bruin.

Former Oregon defensive lineman Keanu Williams committed to UCLA football on Saturday, he revealed on Twitter. Williams, who spent the past two seasons with the Ducks, entered the transfer portal on Jan. 16.

Williams has three years of eligibility remaining.

Williams is the 15th transfer to commit to the Bruins since the end of the regular season, joining UPenn defensive end Jake Heimlicher, Cal linebacker Oluwafemi Oladejo, Princeton punter Will Powers, Kent State quarterback Collin Schlee, Purdue left guard Spencer Holstege, Army running back Anthony Adkins, Oregon tight end Moliki Matavao, Montana State kicker Blake Glessner, Ball State running back Carson Steele, Bowling Green safety Jordan Anderson, Cal wide receiver J.Michael Sturdivant, College of the Sequoias offensive lineman Caleb Walker, USC wide receiver Kyle Ford and Old Dominion left tackle Khadere Kounta.

UCLA has now reeled in five transfers from other Pac-12 programs, including two from Oregon. The Bruins also got one transfer out of Eugene last offseason in offensive tackle Jaylan Jeffers.

Coming out of Clovis High School (CA) in 2021, Williams was a four-star recruit, per the 247Sports Composite. He was the No. 27 player in California, the No. 40 defensive lineman in the country and the No. 312 overall prospect in his class.

Williams was the No. 3 defensive lineman in California, while No. 2 was rising junior Jay Toia.

UCLA made Williams an offer at the time, as did Washington when outside linebackers coach Ikaika Malloe was the defensive line coach in Seattle. The 6-foot-6, 304-pound wound up committing to the Ducks over 21 other Division I programs.

Across four games in his freshman year at Oregon, Williams played 15 snaps and totaled three tackles. He made one tackle in the 2021 Pac-12 Championship Game.

Williams took on a slightly bigger role in 2022, taking 113 snaps across six games. Although he only recorded two tackles as a redshirt freshman, the lineman did record two pressures and a pass breakup.

UCLA had depth issues on the interior defensive line in 2022, with veteran Martin Andrus Jr. going down with a season-ending injury in September and Duke transfer Gary Smith III missing four games with injuries of his own. Former fullback Sitiveni Havili-Kaufusi and former walk-on Dovid Magna were forced to step into larger roles as a result, and they became the only notable backups to Toia, Smith and Harvard transfer Jacob Sykes.

Andrus and Sykes have both exhausted their eligibility, while Hayden Harris entered the transfer portal, leaving Toia and Smith as the top options at the position group without many options behind them. The Bruins did, however, manage to sign two three-star defensive linemen to their 2023 recruiting class in December – Grant Buckey and AJ Fuimaono.

Williams could immediately compete for a spot in the rotation up front, or he could take additional time to develop alongside fellow former four-star recruit, Quintin Somerville, who has played in three games over his first two seasons in Westwood.

Defensive line coach Chad Kauha'aha'a parted ways with UCLA earlier in January, leaving a lot up in the air at the position moving forward. Since the Bruins have already hired Kodi Whitfield to a new post as cornerbacks coach, it is undetermined how or when they will find someone to fill Kauha'aha'a's shoes.

Click here to check out All Bruins' 2023 transfer portal tracker

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