UCLA left tackle Conor McDermott will return to school for his senior season, stabilizing a Bruin offensive line that loses three starters.
The 23-year-old announced his decision on Tuesday night, writing in an Instagram post: “After long discussion with my family and coaches, I’m proud to say I am returning for my senior season at UCLA. I am committed to earning my degree from UCLA, and helping my brothers win a Championship on the field.”
McDermott had said in August that the idea of jumping to the NFL was in the “back of his mind,” but decided to stay at UCLA after requesting a draft evaluation. He has started 19 games at left tackle through the past two seasons, and will enter this final year as the team’s most valuable offensive lineman.
His decision to stay gives the Bruins a significant boost up front. The unit is losing fourth-year starting center Jake Brendel to graduation, as well as juniors Alex Redmond and Caleb Benenoch. Redmond was academically ineligible for the Foster Farms Bowl last month, and signed with an agent before the Bruins’ loss to Nebraska. Benenoch, who is projected as a late-round draft pick, declared last week.
UCLA will also return offensive guard Kenny Lacy, who started 10 games this season, and soon-to-be redshirt sophomore Kolton Miller. Miller started a game at left tackle in place of McDermott, and four more at right tackle.
Scott Quessenberry, who started 19 games in 2013 and 2014, is also set to return after sitting out this past season recovering from shoulder surgeries. He has spent most of his career at guard, but could replace Brendel at center.