Skip to main content

The Bruins have officially added an intriguing prospect to their recruiting board.

Class of 2023 edge rusher Collins Acheampong hasn't played organized football in two years, but he still picked up an offer from UCLA football on Friday. Acheampong took a visit to Westwood and the Wasserman Football Center on Jan. 21, and outside linebackers coach Ikaika Malloe hit him with the scholarship offer a week later.

The reason Acheampong hasn't played football for Fairmont Prep (CA) the past two years is because the school dropped the sport after his freshman season. Acheampong has stayed in shape, though, competing for the school's basketball team as a power forward along the way.

Acheampong didn't even have a football profile on 247Sports or Rivals prior to Friday morning, but he did pick up double-digit sacks when he last took the field as a freshman in 2019. He also played tight end at the time, but with Malloe running point on his recruitment, Acheampong is apparently being targeted as an edge rusher.

The Bruins hosted Acheampong for a visit in November, as he was in attendance for the Cal game at the Rose Bowl at the end of the regular season, so the staff was keeping an eye on him long before Malloe signed on in December.

Coming in at 6-foot-8, Acheampong still has a bit of a basketball player's body at 215 pounds. That has done him plenty of favors through the past few years, though, with Acheampong truly emerging as a high-level basketball recruit as well.

Scroll to Continue

Read More

Acheampong averaged 8.8 points, 8.0 rebounds and 1.0 blocks on 67% field goal shooting as a sophomore last year. He competed at the NCAA-sponsored Section 7 Tournament last June, which coach Mick Cronin and UCLA men's basketball's coaching staff were present at to see targets Kylan Boswell, Dusty Stromer, Jared McCain and other elite prospects.

The length and vertical leap of Acheampong shows up as rebounds, blocks and high-flying dunks in the box score, and they make him a unique prospect for the football staff to look towards as well. His physical profile would seemingly put him in line to follow in Mike Martinez's footsteps at tight end, so it will be interesting to see how the defensive staff makes an effort to refine Acheampong's skills as an outside linebacker.

Bo Calvert and Mitchell Agude will both be gone by the start of the 2023 season, and Carl Jones would have to take a super senior year in order to come back for that campaign. Devin Aupiu, who also brings a lot of height to the table at 6-foot-5, is in line to be the Bruins' primary edge rusher as a junior in their 4-2-5 defensive by then.

The impending defensive coordinator hire could mix up UCLA's base scheme, though, and any number of players could take on new roles in two years' time. Incoming freshman DeAndre Gill projects to be a significant member of the rotation in the future as well, although he notably did not sign his national letter of intent back in December.

Without any 2023 commits at edge rusher – or any position now that cornerback Maliki Crawford has reopened his commitment – there are three outstanding offers at the position. Matayo Uiagalelei and Tausili Akana are both top-50 prospects in the country, so their path to college will end up being much more traditional than Acheampong's.

Follow Connon on Twitter at @SamConnon
Follow All Bruins on Twitter at @SI_AllBruins
Like All Bruins on Facebook at @SI.AllBruins
Subscribe to All Bruins on YouTube

Read more UCLA stories: UCLA Bruins on Sports Illustrated
Read more UCLA football stories: UCLA Football on Sports Illustrated
Read more UCLA men's basketball stories: UCLA Men's Basketball on Sports Illustrated