Texas Football: 3 possible UCLA transfers UT could target

Texas football needs to address a positional need at defensive tackle in the transfer portal entering the spring window.
Jay Toia
Jay Toia / Ronald Martinez/GettyImages
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Jay Toia
Jay Toia / Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

Jay Toia, NT

Another experienced interior defensive lineman returning to the Bruins this season with multiple years of proven experience in the Power Five is rising senior nose tackle Jay Toia. The big and physical 6-foot-3 and 325-pound Toia started double-digit games for the Bruins in each of the last two seasons.

Toia is UCLA's most experienced returning defensive tackle this season.

In the last two seasons, Toia has been a reliable contributor at defensive tackle for the Bruins. He's registered over 50 combined tackles, eight tackles for loss, two sacks, and eight quarterback pressures since 2022.

Toia is a sturdy defensive tackle with a strong base, good hand placement, and ample power. He can overwhelm smaller interior offensive lineman with his high motor and powerful drive off the line of scrimmage.

Texas does have multiple past connections to Toia. He was coached up by new Texas co-DC/LB coach Johnny Nansen during his first season at UCLA after transferring from USC in 2021.

Toia was also teammates with new Texas transfer defensive lineman Savea when they were both at UCLA during the 2021 campaign.

The biggest question with Texas hypothetically pursuing a defensive tackle such as Toia is his consistency. Toia has been an inconsistent performer in run defense and the interior pass rush in the last two seasons at UCLA.

He can also be slow at times to find the ball carrier and get to his gaps due to limited upside regarding his speed and agility around the line of scrimmage.

Toia would be viewed by Texas as more of a depth player to shore up the numbers and experience along the interior defensive line heading into the 2024 season.