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Defensive Lineman John Ward Leaves UCLA Football, Enters Transfer Portal

The Bruins now have 10 players in the portal following Ward's announcement Thursday night.
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Another member of the Bruins' front seven is leaving the program.

Defensive lineman John Ward announced he had entered the transfer portal Thursday night on Twitter, marking an end to his three-year career with UCLA football. Ward played in a total of four games across those three seasons, and he leaves Westwood with three years of eligibility remaining.

Initially coming out of Palmdale High School (CA) as an outside linebacker, the 6-foot-4, 240-pound Ward has played multiple positions during his time with the Bruins, most recently spending this season as a true defensive lineman. Defensive line coach Johnny Nansen also left the team to become Arizona's next defensive coordinator on Dec. 1.

UCLA has now had 10 players enter the portal and Ward is only the third who is originally from California, joining cornerback Shamar Martin and quarterback Kajiya Hollawayne. The other players who are leaving the program are quarterback Parker McQuarrie, edge rusher Myles Jackson, defensive lineman AJ Campbell, punter Luke Akers, safety DJ Warnell, defensive lineman Tyler Kiehne and offensive lineman Beau Taylor.

Ward was part of coach Chip Kelly's first full recruiting class, committing in July 2018, signing in December 2018 and enrolling for spring camp ahead of the 2019 season. Coming out of high school, Ward was a three-star recruit according to all major outlets and was a top-100 prospect in California according to 247Sports, Rivals and ESPN.

A significant portion of the Pac-12 also offered Ward a spot back in the 2019 cycle, including Arizona, Arizona State, Cal, Colorado, Oregon, Utah and Washington State. Also in on Ward at the time were Boise State, Illinois, Hawaii, San Diego State and Yale, among others.

Despite playing as a reserve linebacker and special teamer as a true freshman in 2019 and reappearing against Colorado and Cal this past November on the defensive line, Ward has yet to record a single tackle at the collegiate level.

The Bruins' future up front remains up in the air, with defensive linemen Otito Ogbonnia, Datona Jackson and Odua Isibor walking during Senior Night alongside edge rusher Mitchell Agude. All four could potentially return as super seniors, in addition to Tyler Manoa, but they could also try their luck in the NFL Draft pool.

And with Campbell, Kiehne and Jackson in the portal as well, UCLA was already set to lose some depth in the front seven even before Ward's decision.

The technical rules in terms of scholarships and transfers are complicated enough in a normal year, but with super seniors still a thing and COVID-19 eligibility extensions being granted across the country, it gets even more messy. Essentially, schools are allowed to add up to 25 new scholarship players each cycle, but that number goes up for every outgoing transfer.

That figure maxes out at 32, however, and with 10 players in the transfer portal, the Bruins are at the point where they cannot replace additional departures should any more players declare their intentions to leave the program.

Catch up on all the transfer market news related to UCLA at All Bruins' transfer portal tracker.

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