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Lucas Gramlick

American Canyon High senior Lucas Gramlick sits in an auditorium at UCLA during a recent visit.

American Canyon High senior Lucas Gramlick will be joining UCLA football program as a preferred walk-on instead of UC Davis, he announced Saturday morning while a guest on KVON’s SportsVine.

Reached after the weekly radio talk show, the Solano County Athletic Conference’s 2017 Lineman of the Year said he got a call from UCLA in mid-February, just after announcing his commitment with UC Davis, and decided right away to switch to the Bruins of the Pac-12 Conference. But he didn’t start telling friends and family about it until Friday night, when he learned he had been accepted into the school.

“I wanted to wait until it was official,” he said. “They really need some people at the left tackle spot, so the possibility of me playing right away is not out of the picture. It’s definitely something that could happen. They said my position in particular is definitely one that’s up for grabs. If somebody can come up there and compete, they can take it.”

The prospect of playing for a program recently taken over by Chip Kelly – the former University of Oregon head coach who has since coached Philadelphia Eagles and San Francisco 49ers – just seven months after playing in the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division III playoffs didn’t seem too daunting for the 6-foot-8, 285-pound Gramlick, who recently finished in the top 12 at his first-ever wrestling state meet.

“I think it’s definitely going to be a challenge and take a lot of dedication to compete at that level with with those guys, but I can definitely see myself pushing myself to new heights and doing my best to be part of that program,” he said. “They just got Chip Kelly – we saw what he did at Oregon – and I think that program is going to be really good in the next year or two. It’s going to be a great place to be in a couple of years. I’ve just got to stay focused and I think I’ll be just fine.”

Gramlick had been happy to play for Davis until UCLA called.

“I love Davis,” he said. “People were telling me ‘Don’t feel like you have to settle for Davis.’ I didn’t feel like I was settling for Davis at all. It’s a great academic school and a place I could see myself playing football at. I love Davis. That’s all I can say about it. But UCLA had a little bit more bang for its buck.”

Gramlick, who plans to major in business or political science, said the Westwood campus felt like home when he visited it late last month. His father Jason grew up in Downey, on the other side of Los Angeles, and would take the family there to visit relatives.

“I met all the coaches except for Chip Kelly – he was probably busy trying to get the program on its feet – and I met some players and a couple of students on a tour. I just really liked the feel of the campus and the community.”

One UCLA player Gramlick met was 6-foot-4, 310-pound left guard Paco Perez, who played as a freshman this past fall and might be lining up next to Gramlick this fall.

“He’s coming off a knee injury, so I don’t know when he’ll be back, but he’s really jacked,” Gramlick said of Perez’s muscular physique. “Two years in a Division I program will do that to you, but it’ll be nice to play with him. He said he loves it down there, enjoys being there every day, and would recommend it to anyone.”

Gramlick said he is to report in late June.

“I’ll have maybe have two weeks of summer,” he said, adding that he plans to throw the discus and shot put for the first time with the track and field team this spring.

Gramlick will be the third American Canyon player to play in the Pac-12, following Chris Seisey (Oregon) and Jomon Dotson (Washington).

“We’re excited for him,” Wolves head coach Larry Singer said. “We feel he has something to prove and it’s a great spot for him to do it. I think he’s got some work to do. But any freshman walking into Pac-12 football would have work to do. I think Lucas understands that, too. One of the great things about that kid is he is a smart kid.”

Singer said it’s benefited Gramlick to have been a three-sport athlete, in football, wrestling and baseball his first two years and as a senior with football, wrestling and track.

“Lucas has done so many sports for so long, and he’s good at all of them. If he has an opportunity to be dedicated to one thing at this point in his life, he’s going to be tremendous at it. He knows what hard work is and he’s not afraid of it.”


Sports Reporter

Andy Wilcox is a sportswriter-photographer for the Napa Valley Register. He's had similar roles in Walnut Creek, Grass Valley, Auburn, Tracy and Patterson. He grew up in Ohio. His wife, Laura, is a pastry chef. He also enjoys playing guitar and piano.