Culver City Observer -

UCLA's Rosen: Heisman Candidate, NFL Soon?

 

September 10, 2015



By Mitch Chortkoff

Sports Editor

Everyone knew UCLA had a premier quarterback recruit in Josh Rosen. He’s 6-foot-4 with a very strong arm and he threw 100 touchdown passes at St. John Bosco High in Bellflower.

But he’s also a freshman and Coach Jim Mora Jr. hadn’t announced who would start Saturday’s opening game against Virginia Tech. Maybe Rosen, maybe the more experienced Jerry Neuheisel.

There’s no doubt now who’ll start the second game and a whole lot more.

To say Rosen was sensational in his college debut Saturday in UCLA’s 34-16 victory at the Rose Bowl would be an understatement.

He completed 16 of his first 18 passes and 28 of 35 overall for 361 yards. His first pass was incomplete but only because the receiver dropped what would have been a 75-yard touchdown.

Over the weekend the media hype was being so strong that Mora’s job this week will be to tone it down.

“I’m sure there will be challenges along the way,” the coach said.

USC was ranked eighth nationally in a pre-season poll and UCLA was ranked 13th.

By Monday, some forecasters were saying UCLA has a very good chance of finishing in the top four and might qualify for the national championship game.

Comparisons were being made of Rosen to Payton Manning. Such a strong arm. So poised. Obviously as good as advertised and even better.

Suart Mandel of Fox Sports placed Rosen first on his list of Heisman Trophy candidates.

“Freshman or senior he had the best game,” Mandel said.

Will Rosen continue his college career or go into the

NFL after one season?

It’s a legitimate question.

But bad news for UCLA opponents. Rosen has a lot of help. And in the second half of a competitive contest the Bruins’ personnel took charge.

Paul Perkins led the Pac-12 in rushing last season. Myles Jack is an All-American linebacker who goes on offense in touchdown range and crosses the goal line with the football.

Kenny Clark is a 308-pound force on the defensive line and agile enough to roam all over making plays. And once near the goal line he played on offense and caught a short touchdown pass.

I’m not through listing the Bruins’ assets.

There’s also senior receiver Jordan Payton and 225-pound freshman running back Soso Jamabo, who is far better than so so, He’s a heralded recruit from Texas.

If you’re looking for a negative there’s a key injury. Eddie Vanderdoes, a premier defensive lineman, tore his Achilles tendon and won’t play for awhile.

But the positives far outnumber the negatives.

UCLA will have to beat USC and deal with Stanford in the conference’s Southern Division race. But the Bruins won’t play Oregon this season.

 

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