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The Bruins have taken the next step in their recruitment of an in-state lineman with deep Pac-12 ties.

Class of 2023 defensive lineman Grant Buckey received an offer from UCLA football on Wednesday, he announced on Twitter. The Bruins' staff has now sent out three offers to rising high school senior defensive lineman, and Buckey is the first one from California to achieve that status.

Buckey also has offers from Stanford, Cal, Colorado, Washington, Oregon State, Michigan, San Jose State and UNLV. Buckey's older brother Zach was a freshman at Stanford this past season, but since he didn't play a snap, he would only be a redshirt sophomore by the time Grant starts his collegiate career.

Buckey's father Jeff also played for the Cardinal.

With all of the interest from Pac-12 schools, though, the Wolverines actually sent Buckey his first Power Five offer last fall. San Jose State and UNLV were the first to offer Buckey, and they did so before the start of his sophomore season.

Buckey is being recruited primarily as a defensive end, but he does have experience playing tight end and offensive tackle at Liberty High School (CA) as well. The Bakersfield native played in nine games in 2021, racking up 51 tackles, 15.0 tackles for loss, 7.0 sacks, 12 hurries, two passes defended, three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.

Former UCLA and current Green Bay Packers linebacker Krys Barnes was also a product of Liberty High School.

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The 247Sports Composite and Rivals both have Buckey labeled as a three-star recruit and top-30 player in California. While Rivals has the 6-foot-5 strongside defensive end ranked No. 38 at his position across the country, though, 247Sports has him at No. 64.

UCLA's current defensive formation, which could change depending on who coach Chip Kelly brings in as his next defensive coordinator, is a 4-2-5 that puts edge rushing outside linebackers at the pseudo defensive end spots. As a result, many pure defensive end recruits – such as Quintin Somerville and John Ward – get pushed to the interior, and Buckey likely projects to do the same.

That interior group already lost Otito Ogbonnia to the 2022 NFL Draft, Datona Jackson to graduation and Ward and Tyler Kiehne to the transfer portal this offseason, and without any incoming freshmen to replace them, the position is in line to be much thinner next season. Harvard transfer Jacob Sykes is coming to Westwood to learn under new defensive line coach Chad Kauha'aha'a, but with one year of eligibility remaining, he will join Odua Isibor, Martin Andrus Jr. and Tyler Manoa as interior players who will be forced to move on from the college game after next season.

Come 2023, Somerville – who didn't play at all due to injury in 2021 – and Jay Toia project as the only real contributors at defensive tackle, and they will be a redshirt sophomore and a junior by then, respectively. 

Buckey, or the other two defensive lineman the Bruins have offered in the 2023 class as of Wednesday, would be welcome additions just in terms of pure numbers. Buckey, Jayden Wayne and A.J. Fuimaono are all 6-foot-5 and would bring solid size to UCLA's defense.

The Bruins do not have any 2023 commits at any position, with cornerback Maliki Crawford decommitting Sunday night.

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