Offensive lineman Xavier Su’a-Filo declares for NFL draft

UCLA’s most talented offensive lineman is heading to the pros.

In a decision that even he acknowledged was widely “suspected,” junior Xavier Su’a-Filo announced on Twitter that he will declare for the 2014 NFL draft. Already 23 years old, his eligibility was pushed back by a two-year Mormon mission.

Winner of the Morris Trophy for Pac-12’s top offensive lineman, the 6-foot-3, 304 pound Utah native manned both left guard and left tackle for the Bruins this season. He will play the former as a pro, but moved to the outside halfway through the season due to numerous injuries.

His departure leaves a hole in UCLA’s run blocking. When he played guard, the Bruins loved pulling him to take out would-be tacklers downfield. The team handed him offensive MVP honors in its postseason banquet.

A potential candidate to fill that spot will be Scott Quessenberry, a freshman center who burned his redshirt to play left guard when the Bruins lost two starting tackles to injury. Offensive line coach Adrian Klemm said Quessenberry will compete at center in spring, but incumbent Jake Brendel is now the unit’s most experienced member.

Su’a-Filo will likely be the highest UCLA offensive lineman drafted since 1999, when Outland Trophy winner Kris Farris went to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the third round. Jeff Baca, taken in the sixth round last year, was the first Bruin lineman drafted at all since Farris.

Redshirt sophomore quarterback Brett Hundley has not yet announced his decision.

From earlier this week, a look at every UCLA position group heading into 2014.