When it came time to decide between the Texas Longhorns, UCLA Bruins, and Ole Miss Rebels during the early morning hours on National Signing Day, local Austin Westlake offensive tackle Stephan Zabie passed on the chance to become became one of Tom Herman’s most significant 2017 additions and announced his commitment to UCLA by in a ceremony on ESPNU.
Despite plenty of optimism after extending an offer, the Bruins trended heavily in Zabie’s recruitment in the final hours.
A four-star prospect that attended high school just miles away from the Forty Acres, Zabie finally picked up a Texas offer on didn’t jump into Zabie’s recruitment until Jan. 16, which largely stemmed from the ‘Horns missing on priority target Grant Polley, who ultimately remained firm in his commitment to Colorado.
Furthermore to that end, the Longhorns staff — primarily the Charlie Strong regime — focused on and missed out on key linemen targets with five-star tackle Walker Little choosing Stanford over Texas, four-star tackle Chick Filiaga heading to Michigan and former Texas guard commit Xavier Newman ultimately landing at Baylor, as opposed to initially pursuing Sam Ehlinger’s high school teammate in Zabie.
UCLA, too, jumped into the mix even later than Texas with a Jan. 18 offer before getting him to Los Angeles for a Jan. 20 official visit just days later. Unfortunately for the ‘Horns, it was enough to lure him to the West Coast, serving as yet another Longhorns miss with a key offensive line target target.
Following his late offer, the Longhorns staff managed to get Zabie on campus for a Jan. 26 official visit and despite taking a previous Jan. 20 visit to UCLA and a subsequent Jan. 27 visit to Ole Miss, all of Zabie’s recruiting momentum favored the ‘Horns down the stretch, and understandably so.
However, things didn’t play out favorably for Texas in the end.
Now on board with UCLA’s top 20-ranked 2017 class, which previously lacked a single offensive tackle pledge, Zabie becomes one of the headliners of the Bruins recruiting haul as the fourth highest ranked prospect on board — No. 246 overall. More notably, as opposed to likely redshirting in Austin behind young depth, Zabie will be able to compete for true freshmen reps at any sign of injury or attrition after UCLA reeled in just one offensive tackle in 2016, as well; three-star Alex Akingbulu.
Zabie ranks as the nation’s No. 246 prospect, No. 23 offensive tackle and the No. 39 player in Texas, per 247Sports Composite.