Colorado football a portal landing spot for trio of possible UCLA transfers after Chip Kelly takes Ohio State job

Dec 16, 2023; Inglewood, CA, USA; UCLA Bruins running back TJ Harden (25) reacts after scoring a
Dec 16, 2023; Inglewood, CA, USA; UCLA Bruins running back TJ Harden (25) reacts after scoring a / Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports

Colorado football is a listed "school to watch" transfer portal landing spot for a trio of possible UCLA transfers, WR J. Michael Sturdivant, RB TJ Harden, and TE Moliki Matavao, after ex-Bruins head coach Chip Kelly decided to take Ohio State's vacant offensive coordinator job (with Bill O'Brien taking the BC head coach job) according to Mike Farrell Sports' Mark Pszonak.

"There was thought that Sturdivant might enter this spring’s NFL Draft, but he announced in January that he would be returning to the Bruins in 2024," Pszonak relayed about Sturdivant before saying, "Now he might be looking for a new home and shouldn’t have any problems finding one after totaling 101 receptions for 1,352 yards and 11 touchdowns during his last two seasons."

"A season after flashing his potential during his true freshman season, he followed that up in 2023 by rushing for 827 yards and eight touchdowns despite splitting carries with Carson Steele," Pszonak said of Harden. "He was likely to be the lead back in 2024 with the Bruins, but now with a new coach coming in might he consider a transfer to further enhance those chances at a new school?"

"Matavao, who transferred in from Oregon prior to the 2023 season, only had 14 receptions during his one season with the Bruins but averaged an impressive 20.2 yards per grab," Pszonak wrote of Matavao. "That, along with his 6-foot-6, 260-pound frame, would make him an interesting addition to the portal if he decided to make himself available."

Colorado football likely not done with transfer portal this offseason

Coach Prime has done the 20% high school recruiting he requires of himself and his staff as part of his 40-40-20 recruiting plan, but he's never done recruiting through the portal. Given his culture is largely built on transfers who took the plunge to join his inaugural Buffs team in Boulder, it's not a surprise to see Deion Sanders continue scouting experienced players to expedite the rebuild.

With UCLA players now up for grabs for the next 30 days, expect Coach Prime to kick the tires on any Bruin who decides that a Kelly-less team in year one of the Big Ten is too much of a departure from what he signed up for.

In particular, Harden and Matavao could be exciting additions at positions that didn't stand out for Colorado football in 2023.