Ethan Garbers has been named UCLA's starting quarterback ahead of the team's season opener against Coastal Carolina, Bruins coach Chip Kelly announced Monday. The quarterback competition does not look over, though, as freshman Dante Moore, a former five-star recruit, and Kent State transfer Collin Schlee will also see playing time in Week 1.  

"All three of them deserve to play," Kelly told reporters. "They've all played outstanding. It's been a really good battle with those guys. Healthy competition and they all have earned the playing time." 

Garbers, who transferred from Washington ahead of the 2021 season, has the edge in experience with Kelly's offensive system after spending the past two seasons as Dorian Thompson-Robinson's backup and mostly handing mop-up duty. However, Garbers was inserted into a pressure situation in 2022 when Thompson-Robinson exited the Bruins' Sun Bowl showdown against Pitt with an injury. Garbers immediately led UCLA on a touchdown drive to give the Bruins a 35-34 advantage with just over 30 seconds to play, but Pitt countered with a last-second field goal for the win. 

Garbers, a former four-star prospect out of Newport Beach, California, started one game in 2021 and completed 27 of his 44 pass attempts for 265 yards and two touchdowns.

Kelly entering new territory

Kelly has never employed a three-quarterback arrangement before -- something he made sure to note during his Monday media availability. It shouldn't come as a surprise that UCLA's quarterback competition boiled down to this given the level of talent in that room. 

Moore brings plenty of excitement as one of the most ballyhooed freshmen to ever suit up for the Bruins. He is the second-highest rated recruit in program history and finished the 2023 cycle as the No. 4 prospect nationally and No. 3 quarterback. Moore is an upside play, and there are plenty who believe that he will be the starter by the end of the season. 

Schlee, often seen as the odd man out in the competition, shouldn't be slept on, however. He did well as a first-time starter at Kent State last season, throwing for 2,109 yards and 13 touchdowns while rushing for 492 yards and two touchdowns. 

Coastal Carolina provides an intriguing early-season test for all three signal=callers. Former Chanticleers coach Jamey Chadwell turned the program into a Group Five power; they have won at least nine games in each of the last three seasons. Coastal Carolina enters the 2023 season under a new leader in Tim Beck, who replaces Chadwell after three years as the offensive coordinator at NC State.