There isn’t much of a consensus on Siale Esera, but the Bruins are certainly interested in what the prospect could bring to their program.
UCLA football sent an offer to the class of 2023 linebacker on Sunday, Esera announced on Twitter. Esera tagged defensive line coach Chad Kauha’aha’a in the tweet, signifying that the former UNLV and USC assistant is running point on his recruitment, but he has worked mostly as an inside linebacker so far in high school.
The connection between Esera and the Bruins started back as early as last September, though, meaning now-departed assistants Johnny Nansen, Jason Kaufusi or Don Pellum could have been the ones who fostered the connection with the young linebacker in the first place.
Esera, who goes to Timpview High School (UT) in Provo, also has offers from Arizona, BYU, Cal, Colorado, Hawaii, Michigan, Michigan State, Nebraska, Nevada, Oregon, Oregon State, Stanford, Tennessee, USC, Utah, Utah State, Virginia and Washington State.
Esera visited Hawaii, Alabama, Georgia, Utah, BYU, Stanford and Cal last summer, as well as Oregon and Oregon State earlier this offseason, but he has yet to take an official or unofficial to Westwood.
While the industry standard 247Sports Composite has Esera pegged as a four-star prospect, there are a wide range of evaluations on the rising high school senior linebacker.
247Sports’ own ratings list Esera as a three-star, as do ESPN’s, but Rivals is much higher on him, giving him a four-star designation. Esera is the No. 45 prospect in the entire country according to Rivals, as well as the No. 2 linebacker and No. 1 player in Utah.
ESPN does not have Esera ranked at all, and 247Sports has him slotted in at No. 41 among linebackers and No. 8 among players in his state. Rivals, 247Sports and the 247Sports Composite all have Esera listed as the No. 1 inside linebacker in Utah, though, which is not a bad spot to be in considering the names that have come out of that footprint in the past.
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One of UCLA’s two top-ranked incoming freshman tight ends, Carsen Ryan, went to Timpview alongside Esera. Ryan transferred to American Fork (UT) for the 2021 season, but the two were teammates in 2020.
Esera had 33 tackles, 10.0 tackles for loss, 7.0 sacks, a safety, two forced fumbles and a scoop-and-score as a sophomore that year, then followed that up with 43 tackles, 15.0 tackles for loss, 11 sacks, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery as a junior.
In between the two disruptive seasons at Timpview, Esera went to Rivals’ Underclassmen Challenge in Atlanta and won Linebacker MVP at the camp. There, Esera notably matched up with former New York Giants running back Brandon Jacobs.
Later that summer, Esera started picking up comparisons to his cousin and Oregon standout Noah Sewell, the Pac-12 Defensive Freshman of the Year in 2020 and Pac-12 First Team member in 2021. Sewell and Esera are both 6-foot-3 and roughly 260 pounds, making the comparison an apt one from a physical standpoint.
The linebacking corps at UCLA are as deep as they have been in years, with Hawaii transfer Darius Muasau replacing former Notre Dame transfer Jordan Genmark Heath earlier this offseason. Muasau, Kain Medrano, JonJon Vaughns, Ale Kaho, Damian Sellers and Jeremiah Trojan all have the eligibility to come back in 2023, with only Caleb Johnson locked into departing after this fall.
But with St. John Bosco’s (CA) Jalen Woods being the only inside linebacker commit in their small 11-member 2022 recruiting class, the Bruins will need to start building for the future on that second level. Esera and Tre Edwards and the only inside linebackers with offers from UCLA in the class of 2023, though, so either the defensive staff is planning to sell out for that short list of targets or there will be more names added in the coming weeks and months.
UCLA does not have a commit for its 2023 class, at linebacker or elsewhere.