Linebacker Zach Whitley has left UCLA for good.
The 6-foot-1, 220-pound Houston-area native withdrew from school on Monday, ending a short stint for a prospect that had once looked like one of the gems of the Bruins’ 2014 recruiting class. He played in nine games as a true freshman and recorded one tackle.
A month ago, Whitley had reportedly been dismissed from the team — but head coach Jim Mora soon insisted that nothing had ever changed in the player’s status.
“He is currently on our team,” Mora said on Dec. 12. “There was never confusion with us. He’s always been on our roster. There’s never been any changes. I don’t know where that came from.”
However, Whitley did not practice with the Bruins once they began preparing for the Alamo Bowl. Mora declined to disclose the reasons for Whitley’s absence.
The Galena Park (Texas) North Shore product was ranked a top-100 recruit by Rivals.com, and the country’s No. 7 inside linebacker in 2014. He enrolled early at UCLA and shined in spring camp, showing off his ability to move smoothly from sideline to sideline. But after suffering a concussion in August, Whitley never seemed to gain traction on the depth chart again.