The Past, Present, And Future Of UCLA Quarterbacks, Part II: The Roller Coaster Of QB Recruiting

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Sep 26, 2014; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Former St. John Bosco quarterback Josh Rosen (3) will take the reigns of the UCLA offense as a true freshman in 2015. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports


Targets (in chronological order): Ricky Town (4*- Ventura, CA), Josh Rosen (5*- Manhattan Beach, CA), Blake Barnett (5*- Corona, CA)

How it went down: As strange as it seems to say in hindsight, UCLA’s first offer to a 2015 quarterback went out to St. Bonaventure’s Ricky Town. Town was one of the first quarterback prospects to impress in a class that would soon be chock full of them, and UCLA quickly prioritized Town once he burst onto the scene as a high school sophomore. Town, though, was adamant about playing in a pro-style offense in college and committed to noted pro-style adherent Doug Nussmeier and Alabama right before his junior year.

With Town clearly looking at different programs even before his commitment to the Crimson Tide, UCLA began to expand its search for a 2015 quarterback as well. The Bruins offered St. John Bosco’s Josh Rosen before Rosen’s junior season, and it was an offer that had been long coming after Rosen lit up that spring’s camp circuit and clearly established himself as an elite prospect.

However, the perception of Rosen, the son of two Ivy League-educated parents, was that he had long wanted to leave Southern California and expand his horizons at an elite academic institution outside the area. Stanford and Cal stood out for Rosen at the time. The Bruins, realizing this, continued to scour the area for quarterbacks.

Once again savvy with its early quarterback evaluations, UCLA offered Santiago’s Blake Barnett before Barnett had exploded into the national consciousness as a 5-star quarterback recruit. However, the true prize was out in Bellflower putting together a legendary junior season at eventual national champion St. John Bosco.

Fortuitously, around the time UCLA offered Barnett, the Bruins got a huge slice of luck: Stanford, long believed to be Rosen’s dream school, passed on Rosen earlier in the summer, believing Town to be a better fit for the culture of the program and offering Town instead of Rosen. On top of Stanford’s questionable evaluation, Cal was in the midst of a disastrous 1-11 season in 2013.

With Bay Area schools no longer looking like viable choices, Rosen suddenly began to see UCLA in a new light and Mora, whose family lives near Rosen’s family in Manhattan Beach, and the Mazzones (Offensive Coordinator Noel and QB Coach Taylor) led the charge to lock down Rosen while the window of opportunity was open. In the end, the Bruins got the prize they desperately craved, as the top quarterback recruit in the country committed to UCLA on March 20, 2014, stayed solid throughout the process, and enrolled at UCLA this past January.

Signees: Josh Rosen

Progression at UCLA: Pending injury, Rosen will be the starter at quarterback for UCLA for at least the next three seasons.

Remaining on the roster: Josh Rosen

Next: A Long Shadow Looms Over 2016