The Bruins are officially targeting a fast-rising lineman who has already picked up a lot of attention on the recruiting trail this offseason.
Class of 2023 offensive tackle Caleb Lomu picked up an offer from UCLA football on Friday, he announced on Twitter. The Highland High School (AZ) product comes in at 6-foot-5 and 260 pounds and is fresh off a breakout season that helped him put his name on the map.
Lomu is also sitting on offers from Arizona, Arizona State, Baylor, BYU, Cal, Indiana, Nevada, Northern Arizona, Oregon State, San Diego State, UNLV, Utah, Utah State, Washington and Washington State.
While Lomu had unofficially visited Arizona and BYU early last fall, he did not have a single Power Five offer heading into his junior season.
Northern Arizona and UNLV offered Lomu last summer, then Arizona and Arizona State sent theirs in September and December, respectively. The offers really started flooding in at the start of the New Year, as Lomu picked up 10 more in a one-month span between January and February.
Baylor and UCLA represent Lomu’s latest offers, and he already has official visits booked for Utah and Arizona following several gameday visits and unofficials across the West over the past year.
As a junior at Highland this past season, Lomu played primarily left tackle and earned First Team All-Region and 6A All-Conference Team honors in the process. Lomu then picked up an invite to National Preps’ National Combine at the NFL Pro Bowl, where he impressed scouts enough to earn additional invitations to the National Preps Champion Invitational and Under Armour Next All-American Camp Series.
Lomu also participated at the Polynesian Bowl Combine in March before getting invited to the 2023 rendition of that showcase game, and he is just a few days removed from being invited to the 2023 All-American Bowl in San Antonio.
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Lomu is a four-star recruit, according to 247Sports, ESPN and On3, although he has three stars from Rivals. In the 247Sports Composite, Lomu is the No. 7 player in Arizona, No. 42 offensive tackle in the country and No. 490 overall prospect in his class.
Just narrowly beating out another UCLA-targeted offensive tackle, Elijah Paige, Lomu is the top-ranked player at his position in the state of Arizona.
UCLA only brought in one offensive lineman as part of its 2022 recruiting class – Loyola (CA) product Sam Yoon. Both starting tackles from 2020 and 2021 – Sean Rhyan and Alec Anderson – left Westwood early in favor of NFL prospects, leaving the Bruins to start over from scratch at both spots.
Rising redshirt freshman Garrett DiGiorgio is in line to take over one of those starting roles after being UCLA’s third tackle in 2021. Rutgers transfer Raiqwon O’Neal will get to campus in time for fall camp, as will Oregon transfer Jaylan Jeffers, but O’Neal may not be a long-term solution depending on how his eligibility shakes out and defensive line transplant Tyler Manoa is officially done after 2022.
That leaves somewhat of a void at tackle moving forward for UCLA and new offensive line coach Tim Drevno, despite the sheer number of bodies added to the mix. DiGiorgio, Jeffers and Yoon – plus reserves Josh Carlin, Patrick Selna and Thomas Cole – might give the Bruins enough scholarship players at the position in 2023 barring any outgoing transfers, but there is certainly ample room for fresh faces as well.
UCLA has sent offers out to Paige, Samson Okunlola, Spencer Fano, Elishah Jackett, Heath Ozaeta, Luke Baklenko and Raymond Pulido, making offensive tackle one of their most heavily-offered positions. Paige, Jackett, Ozaeta, Baklenko and Pulido have all gone on official visits to Westwood as well, and Jackett has the Bruins in his top five as of May 12.
The staff has evidently prioritized tackle as a position of need, and Lomu is just the latest target who could help them fill that hole.