Recruitment: Jake Raulerson decided to transfer from Texas after three years with the Longhorns in December and, because he was far enough along on his degree at the time, he actually transferred as a graduate transfer, meaning he would be immediately eligible at the school of his choosing. UCLA got involved early on, as Raulerson had a relationship with Adrian Klemm stretching back to when Klemm was recruiting him out of high school at SMU. Raulerson visited UCLA this past weekend after already visiting Michigan, and saw enough that he liked about UCLA that he decided to commit yesterday. He'll have two years to play at UCLA.
Evaluation: We've only seen Raulerson once, in the Texas game in 2014, and we weren't really paying attention to him at the time. That said, we solicitied evaluations from Scout's Texas site and from one of our contributors here on BRO who rewatched the Texas game. Here were their evaluations:
Chip Brown, Scout.com: "Jake Raulerson came into Texas as a 6-4, 262-pound defensive end, but saw his best opportunity for playing time would be on the offensive line and began working at guard, center and tackle while redshirting. In 2014, starting senior center Dom Espinosa went down in the opening game with a season-ending broken ankle. Raulerson was thrust into the starting lineup the next four games vs BYU, UCLA, at Kansas and Baylor. Raulerson struggled to hold the point of attack, especially in pass protection, and was replaced in the starting lineup by junior Taylor Doyle for the last eight games of the 2014 season. It was during this time that the relationship between OL coach Joe Wickline and Raulerson began to sour, and Wickline's negative attitude toward Raulerson caused a confidence loss. In 2015, Doyle was a senior and started every game at center. Raulerson got very little playing time as his backup, even in mop-up time. Raulerson's dissatisfaction at Texas was strong enough that he chose to become a graduate transfer, even as he was being projected as the starter at center for 2016.
Raulerson is athletic, has good feet and has added bulk. Raulerson was last listed at 294 pounds. His technique (and trusting his technique) continues to be Raulerson's biggest hurdle in becoming a starting offensive lineman capable of controlling his gap, holding the point of attack and becoming a better pass protector. A fresh start with a new coaching staff may be exactly what's needed in unlocking Raulerson, clearing his head of the negativity and allowing him to become a much more confident player."
Jeff Siegel, BRO: "Since I still have the UCLA-Texas game from 2014 on my DVR, I went back and isolated on Raulerson (he played the whole game). This was his first significant action; the Texas starting center (an all-Big-12 type if I recall) was injured the previous week vs. BYU. Raulerson got into that game for maybe the second half, but that was the extent of his experience going into the Jerry World game.
Considering it was his first extended action of his career, I thought he did just fine.
He made all the line calls. Not one false start the entire game. Snaps - both from under center and shotgun - were spot on. Seemed fairly athletic when setting up for screens, moving pocket, pulling on sweeps, etc. More than held his own when going toe-to-toe with Vanderdoes and Clark. Never really got blown up. Gave up only one sack (to Vanderdoes) and it wasn't really his fault. Seemed like he and the guard were supposed to double-team Vanderdoes and I believe the guard fell down. He didn't steamroll anybody on running plays but seemed to show good technique and held his own. (No worries, nobody is going to blow up Clark or Vanderdoes)."
Impact for UCLA: UCLA desperately needed to add an immediate contributor on the offensive line this year with the losses of not only the players who left for the NFL, but also guys like Simon Goines who had to medically retire. Raulerson gives UCLA a player who not only projects as great depth, but someone who was slated to start this year for Texas at center. He'll obviously come in and compete with Scott Quessenberry among others at center, and depending on how that all shakes out, the Bruins could end up starting a pretty good offensive line in Conor McDermott, Kenny Lacy, Raulerson/Quessenberry, and Kolton Miller. Raulerson is, from everything we've heard, a very capable offensive lineman who should be able to come in and start immediately.
Getting two years from Raulerson is also key. UCLA needs some stability on the offensive line this year after losing three starters this offseason, and Raulerson should give them two years of it. With Raulerson in the mix to start, guys like Tevita Halalilo, Andre James, and Josh Wariboko can continue to be brought along slowly if need be as they continue to develop. Depth still isn't where UCLA would love it to be, but Raulerson definitely improves it considerably.