Defensive lineman Brandon Tuliaupupu to transfer out

After sitting out this season with a torn ACL, redshirt sophomore Brandon Tuliaupupu will transfer out of UCLA. The defensive lineman has already been removed from the team’s official roster. According to the Los Angeles Times, his likely destinations are Cal Poly, UC Davis or Sacramento State.

During spring practices, Tuliaupupu had split first-team reps at nose tackle with senior Seali’i Epenesa before injuring his knee. Once the season progressed, however, even Epenesa lost reps to true freshman Kenny Clark — who ended the season with two official starts, but was playing a de facto first-string role by the end of the season.

Redshirt freshman Eli Ankou is the only other nose tackle listed on the depth chart, though sophomore Ellis McCarthy can also play there. UCLA has a verbal commitment from 2014 tackle Ainuu Taua, rated the ninth-best prospect in California by

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Brandon Tuliaupupu out with torn ACL

Redshirt sophomore Brandon Tuliaupupu’s freak, non-contact injury at the end of UCLA’s Wednesday practice turned out to be a torn ACL — one that will most likely sideline him until 2014.

Tuliaupupu only made three tackles last season, but was getting increased reps through spring camp.

“It’s really unfortunate,” head coach Jim Mora said. “Boy, he was doing really a good job for us too. The competition between him and (Seali’i) Epenesa was outstanding.”

Epenesa is now the only nose tackle available in spring camp, although defensive end Eli Ankou was tried there on Thursday. Sophomore Ellis McCarthy is moving there once he returns from post-surgery rehab on his knee. Incoming freshman Kenneth Clark will also figure prominently in the depth chart come fall.

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DL Brandon Tuliaupupu injures knee

Brandon Tuliaupupu hurt his left knee on the last play of UCLA’s Wednesday practice, crumpling to the turf in an apparent freak, non-contact injury.

The diagnosis isn’t clear yet, but Tuliaupupu was driven off Spaulding Field in a cart.

“It didn’t look good,” head coach Jim Mora said.

Added linebacker Anthony Barr: “Those are the scariest ones, when nobody’s around. He was just running and he kind of falls. We hope for the best.”

Tuliaupupu only had three tackles as a redshirt freshman in 2012, but his exit leaves the Bruins hurting for depth on the defensive line. Senior Owamagbe Odighizuwa and sophomore Ellis McCarthy are also out for spring as they rehab from surgery.

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