Asiasi, per NCAA rules, will need to sit out a year before he's eligible to play at UCLA. He's enrolled at UCLA, and will be in class for Spring Quarter when it starts at the beginning of April and able to participate in UCLA's spring practice, which begins April 4th. We've heard that Asiasi will try to appeal the transfer requirement to sit out a year. It's probably unlikely, but there's a chance he could win the appeal and be eligible for the 2017 season. If he has to redshirt, he'll be a redshirt sophomore when he's eligible for the 2018 season; if he's eligible this fall, he'll be true sophomore.
How and Why the Transfer Happened:
Different sources have indicated that Asiasi decided to leave Michigan because he didn't feel comfortable with being so far away from his home, the weather and the coaching staff. He stopped going to class at Michigan a few weeks ago and returned home to Northern California. He indicated to Michigan he wanted to transfer, but the Michigan coaching staff wasn't agreeable at first, wanting to try to convince Asiasi to return to Ann Arbor. Asiasi's insistence eventually made Michigan relent, allowing him to transfer and granting a release for him to transfer to various programs.
Asiasi and his family immediately contacted UCLA defensive line coach Angus McClure, who had been his primary recruiter out of high school since his recruiting region is Northern California. Asiasi is also close to current UCLA freshman Boss Tagaloa, being high school teammates at Concord De La Salle, and Tagaloa's endorsement of the UCLA program was influential. The primary schools also trying with Asiasi were Cal and USC, but both are semester schools and, given Asiasi's situation, it pretty much precluded Asiasi from transferring to either. If he had, he would have had to not enroll until summer session, as opposed to UCLA, which is on the quarter system, allowing Asiasi to begin class in April and participate in spring practice. All of this, in particular the familiarity with Tagaloa and McClure, and feeling he could transfer to be closer to family, were keys in Asiasi transferring to UCLA.
Where Does He Fit In
Asiasi was a big-time prospect in high school, the No.4-ranked tight end in the nation and the No. 67-ranked prospect overall nationally. As a prospect, he combined a big body, at about 280 pounds, with great athleticism and nimbleness. He had very good hands, and he preferred the tight end position, despite being an accomplished defensive linemen, where he easily would have been ranked as a four-star also. He committed to Michigan over UCLA and USC.
As a true freshman tight end last season, Asiasi appeared in all 13 of Michigan's games, and while he had just two receptions for a total of 18 yards and a touchdown, Michigan observers thought he showed the potential to be a big contributor at tight end and were expecting him to be a major element of Michigan's offense in 2017.
Asiasi will start at UCLA as a tight end, where he'll join a pretty deep roster of Austin Roberts (JR), Caleb Wilson (SO), Jordan Wilson (R-FR), Jimmy Jaggers (FR) and Moses Robinson-Carr (FR). As we said, we know Asiasi prefers tight end, but there's a pretty good chance he could end up on the defensive line, for a number of reasons. First, Michigan had him listed at 284 pounds, and he's not sloppy at that weight, and could easily get up to 300, given his body and frame. He showed in high school that he was an elite defensive line prospect, with great quickness and foot speed. Depending on how he develops physically, he could project to the strongside defensive end spot or even inside as a three-technique. There's also the connection with defensive line coach McClure and the prospect of playing alongside Tagaloa.
There is also the possibility that Asiasi could end up on the offensive line. Again, it depends on how his body develops, but given his agility for a player his size, he could be a good offensive tackle or guard. We could easily see him, with more weight, being similar to former Bruin OL Xavier Su'a-Filo, who has been with the Houston Texans since being draft in 2014.
From what we've heard, Asiasi is pretty intent on being a tight end at this point. UCLA's new offense under offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch is one Asiasi should be familiar with, since Fisch just came to UCLA from Michigan.
Impact on Recruiting
Now that Tagaloa and Asiasi are reunited in Westwood, it makes UCLA the overwhelming favorite to get their former high school teammate and friend, Tuli Letuligasenoa, the No. 1-ranked defensive tackle in the west for 2018. McClure is also the recruiter for Letuligasenoa. Letuligasenoa has already spoken with Asiasi and MClure about the transfer, and we're hearing he was fired up about potentially playing with Asiasi and Tagaloa at UCLA.