NCF On The Trail: Josh Rosen

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After reviewing performances at The Opening last week, here are a few quick hits on how each Elite 11 quarterback performed:

The Early Offer is RecruitingNation's regular feature, giving you a dose of recruiting in the mornings. Today’s offerings: Even if you’ve followed recruiting for only a little bit, you know coaches sometimes stretch the truth a little bit to lure a player to come to their school. But sometimes those fabrications can lead to some funny situations. Just ask ESPN 300 quarterback Drew Lock about the pitch he received from one. Plus, UCLA-pledge Josh Rosen bounced back after an up-and-down performance at the Elite 11 and ASU commit Brady White continued his strong summer.


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BEAVERTON, Ore. -- Pac-12 programs hold commitments from 13 prospects who participated in Nike's The Opening this week, including four quarterbacks who finished in the final Elite 11 quarterback ranking and two offensive linemen who were named to the Final Five on that side of the ball. Though the conference will undoubtedly finish with commitments from many more of the recruits in attendance, we take a look at how the 13 commitments fared over the four days.


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BEAVERTON, Ore. -- The Early Offer is RecruitingNation's regular feature, giving you a dose of recruiting in the mornings. Today's offerings: Five-star offensive tackle Tim Settle hasn't narrowed his list down yet, but he's not afraid to admit favorites when asked which school has the best food and the best looking girls. Plus, the final Elite 11 rankings featured quarterbacks going to Alabama, Oregon, Texas A&M, USC, Penn State and UCLA, but it also included some surprises.


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Elite 11: Day 1 notebook 

July, 6, 2014
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ESPN.com RecruitingNation reporters Jeremy Crabtree, Gerry Hamilton, Erik McKinney, Mitch Sherman and Tom VanHaaren are at Nike Headquarters this week for the Elite 11 finals. After Day 1 of the event, here are their impressions.

BEAVERTON, Ore. -- Day 1 of the Elite 11 Finals didn't appear to do much in terms of creating separation between many of the 19 quarterbacks, as all are vying for MVP honors. Despite being put through several grueling military exercises the previous afternoon and well into the early morning hours, all of the quarterbacks came out firing during the Sunday morning session and, for the most part, carried it over throughout the afternoon session.

This group of finalists appears more athletic than ever. And it’s not just the dual-threat guys.

Pocket passers such as Josh Rosen, Ricky Town and Alex Malzone are by no means statues in the backfield. In many cases, they’re agile, reflecting the state of the college game, which has trended toward the dual-threat players.

This event has always showcased the classic quarterbacks, and no longer are the dual-threats subject to the run-first stereotype.

With nine in each category, this year might mark the first time the dual-threat quarterbacks actually enter with more star value than their pocket-passer counterparts.


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BEAVERTON, Ore. -- The 2014 Elite 11 officially got underway Sunday morning with a fast-paced two-hour workout split into three groups that included the 19 prospects and six camp counselors. The counselors included Baylor's Bryce Petty, Utah's Travis Wilson and Notre Dame's Everett Golson.

Here are 10 takeaways from the opening session.

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The 2015 quarterback class in California not only has a chance to shape the recruiting rankings in February, but also has an opportunity to shift college football's national landscape for the next few years. While the Golden State has produced more than its share of quarterbacks over the years, not in recent memory has there been a group as deep and talented as the 2015 crop. The Pac-12 is looking to capitalize on the array of talent at the position, but programs from across the country are looking to pry a few of the signal-callers out of the area.

Here are the ESPN 300 quarterbacks from the state:

Josh Rosen -- No. 1 pocket passer -- 6-4, 200 -- committed to UCLA

Rosen was an early lean to Stanford and gave significant looks to Cal and Michigan before selecting the Bruins in late March. Rosen led his high school to an undefeated season and state championship as a junior, one year after breaking onto the national recruiting scene as a sophomore. As the top-ranked quarterback in the nation, Rosen's commitment to UCLA was huge for the Bruins as he has quickly become one of the top recruiters in this class.


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The recruiting efforts of Charlie Strong at Texas received a significant boost on Monday afternoon, as Zach Gentry -- the nation's No. 2 pocket passer quarterback -- took to Twitter to announce his commitment to the Longhorns.

The 6-foot-6, 230-pound strong-armed signal-caller represents a huge recruiting win for Strong, as Texas beat schools such as Alabama, Oklahoma State and Tennessee. Gentry could also represent a change in direction for the Longhorns at the position, the quarterbacks signed by the Longhorns in the last three classes -- Connor Brewer, Tyrone Swoopes and Jerrod Heard -- were all dual-threats. In Gentry, the Longhorns are getting an athletic pocket passer -- a capable runner, but more reliant on his arm -- and someone Strong and his staff were in on early during their time at Louisville. In fact, Gentry took only one unofficial visit to Texas this spring before feeling comfortable enough to make his decision.

It's a great rebound for Texas, which missed out on quarterback targets such as Josh Rosen, Jarrett Stidham, Ricky Town and Drew Lock early in the process. But the Longhorns certainly didn't settle for Gentry. At No. 72 in the ESPN 300, Gentry is the highest-rated prospect to commit to Strong during his Texas tenure.

As a junior, Gentry threw for 1,587 yards and nine touchdowns against three interceptions, and also added the bulk of his team's rushing yards -- 617 yards and a team-high 16 touchdowns.

Gentry's commitment gives Texas 10 pledges in the 2015 class, and he could boost the nation's No. 11 recruiting class into the top 10.

New Mexico is not known for producing many big-time recruits, but it did send quarterback Landry Jones to Oklahoma in the 2008 class, and offensive lineman Matt Hegarty to Notre Dame in 2011.

ESPN.com reporter Max Olson contributed to this story.

The Early Offer is RecruitingNation's regular feature, giving you a dose of recruiting in the mornings. Today’s offerings: With coaches on the road visiting high schools in the spring, they bump into prospects all the time wearing gear of a rival school. So does that make coaches think differently of those prospects? Plus, one of the nation's top quarterbacks makes his decision Friday.


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UCLA is coming off a 10-3 record in 2013, and it beat rival USC for the second straight season. But the Bruins didn’t capitalize as many thought they might on the recruiting trail, finishing with the No. 26 class and missing out on some key recruits on signing day. UCLA coach Jim Mora knows the 2015 recruiting efforts will be vital for the Bruins to continue their success, and an early start that includes pledges from Josh Rosen, the No. 1 quarterback in the country, and two other ESPN 300 prospects is just what the doctor ordered. Mora visited with RecruitingNation on some key topics facing the Bruins with the 2015 class and other national recruiting issues.

You’re not able to talk specifically about prospects you're recruiting, but how does it help a program on the recruiting trail when they land an elite quarterback early in the process?

Jim Mora: Prospects follow recruiting very, very closely and they know where others are going or where they're leaning. I think any time you are able to early in the recruiting process land a high-profile recruit at whatever position, it's going to help you. Good players want to play with other good players. They want a chance to go win a championship. So when you can get a verbal commitment from somebody that's high-profile at an important position like quarterback, then it is certainly going to help your recruiting prospects.

[+] EnlargeJim Mora
Kirby Lee/USA TODAY SportsJim Mora's energy and success have led to bigger recruiting victories for UCLA.
Looking at the numbers of players returning after this season and your smaller senior class, most observers say you'll sign between 15-20 players in the 2015 class. What challenges does that present you guys as a staff?

JM: You have to be very selective. As we have more and more success and more and more kids become interested in playing at UCLA, it just naturally forces you to be a little bit more selective. This year, we have to be very diligent and make the right decisions as to who we let in the door. We're moving methodically through the process, gathering as much information as we can on these kids, recruiting them along the way and hopefully make the right decisions.

How does it help having a coach like Adrian Klemm, who is originally from Inglewood, Calif., on the staff?


JM: He has a ton of connections in the city. He's very well respected in Southern California, as well as the rest of the country. Any time a guy walks into a living room or into a school out here in Los Angeles with a pedigree that Adrian has, it's significant. The guy has three Super Bowl rings, and he’s from L.A. I don't know if you're going to be able to find another college coach in America that's got three Super Bowl rings. Heck, I bet you can't find one with two. He's done it and had success at the highest level, and that carries weight with these kids and with these families in Los Angeles.

Should there be an early signing period in college football?

JM: I have no opinion on it. That's just the truth. I worry about what I can control and that's out of my control, so I'm not going to worry about it (laughs). There's my dogmatic, on the record answer for you.

Have you reviewed Randy Edsall's recruiting proposal that suggested prospects couldn't be offered scholarships until until Sept. 1 of an athlete’s senior year and those offers would only come from a school’s admissions department?

JM: That ain't going to happen. There are folks offering seventh- and eighth-graders. That one is not going to happen, but I respect the fact that he's looking at it that way. I respect all these guys that are looking at it and trying to find a solution. Right now, I have more important and pressing things that I have to worry about. I choose to spend my time and energy on other issues. But there a lot of smart people out there that I'm going to depend on to examine this issue, because something needs to be done about it. I'm certainly not smart enough to figure out all those issues. I only have so many brain cells, and I need to use them on UCLA stuff.

How important is it in today’s world of social media to be honest with the prospects you’re recruiting? We hear so much about negative recruiting, but not so much about how you have to be honest with prospects.


JM: Recruits see through the fluff in a heartbeat. If you're not honest with them, you're not going to get away with it. They know what is real and what isn't real. It doesn't matter if it's the NFL level, this level or the high school level. That demands that sometimes you have tough discussions or uncomfortable conversations with people, but you have to do it. You have to do it and have a level of empathy that can earn respect with people. You have to be brutally honest with recruits, high school coaches and parents about where things stand without being attacking or condescending.

Tale of the tape: UCLA vs. USC 

April, 22, 2014
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There have been some significant pendulum swings in the rivalry between UCLA and USC since 1991.

That was the year in which the Bruins embarked on an eight-game winning streak against USC, which was countered by the Trojans winning 12 of the next 13 meetings -- though two were later vacated because of NCAA sanctions. Now, UCLA and head coach Jim Mora are riding high after two wins in a row in the rivalry, and things have gotten very interesting on the recruiting trail.


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Washington scored big on the recruiting trail on Monday morning, as ESPN Junior 300 quarterback Jake Browning announced his commitment to the Huskies.

Browning originally planned to hold off committing until April, but he decided that he couldn't wait any longer. The 6-foot-2, 185-pound quarterback, who plans to graduate and enroll early, announced his commitment via Twitter.

Washington coach Chris Petersen has yet to coach a game with the Huskies, but he has already proven to be a big hit with quarterbacks. Petersen worked quickly to bring in ESPN 300 signal-caller Kyle Carta-Samuels at the end of the 2014 recruiting cycle, and he quickly grabbed his quarterback for the 2015 class.

Browning is among a group of standout California quarterbacks in this class, and the Pac-12 continues to reap the rewards of having such a strong contingent in the region. UCLA and USC already cashed in by snagging the Nos. 1 and 2 pocket passing quarterbacks in the country in Josh Rosen and Ricky Town, respectively. Now, Washington holds a commitment from the No. 7 pocket-passer in the country and No. 6 overall quarterback in the West region.

Not only was Browning a hot commodity on the recruiting trail, as he'd picked up a recent offer from Alabama and was getting strong looks from several Pac-12 programs, he gives the Huskies a quarterback of the future who stands to make plenty of news in the present. Browning should comfortably hold the California state career records for passing yards and passing touchdowns by the time he is finished with his senior season. As a junior, Browning threw for 5,737 yards and a state-record 75 touchdowns -- numbers that would look otherworldly if they didn't only just beat out what he did during his sophomore season, when he threw for 5,248 yards and 63 touchdowns. Browning was named the Gatorade State Player of the Year last year.

His commitment gives Petersen and the Huskies three verbal pledges for the 2015 class, as Browning joins offensive tackle Trey Adams and running back Myles Gaskin. His commitment could also shift the spotlight toward West region quarterbacks such as Brady White, Brett Rypien, Sheriron Jones and Kyle Kearns -- all uncommitted ESPN Junior 300 prospects. Brian Lewerke is another quarterback to watch in the region, as there are enough talented signal-callers in the area to more than make up the Pac-12's signees come February. At this point, it looks as though the conference is doing well to keep many of them close to home.

Cal is one program that could look to capitalize on Browning's commitment to Washington, as the Golden Bears were after the local product. With him off the board, their focus could shift even more toward White, who already holds an offer from Cal.

Weekly commitment roundup

March, 21, 2014
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Boston College
Lukas Denis, ATH
HT: 6-0 WT: 175
Positional Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation pending

Chris Lindstrom, OG
HT: 6-4 WT: 250
Positional Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation pending

Miami
Bowman Archibald, TE-Y
HT: 6-5 WT: 240
Positional Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation pending

North Carolina
Corey Bell Jr., CB
HT: 5-10 WT: 168
Positional Rank: N/A
Stars: 3

Chris Clark, TE-Y
HT: 6-6 WT: 247
Positional Rank: N/A
Stars: 3

Big 12

Texas
DeShon Elliott, S
HT: 6-2 WT: 205
Positional Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation pending

Big Ten

Penn State
Juwan Johnson, ATH
HT: 6-5 WT: 195
Positional Rank: No. 19 ATH
Stars: 4
ESPN Junior 300: No. 214

Pac-12

Oregon State
Treshon Broughton, CB
HT: 6-0 WT: 180
Positional Rank: N/A (juco)
Stars: Evaluation pending

UCLA
Josh Rosen, QB-PP
HT: 6-4 WT: 200
Positional Rank: No. 1 QB-PP
Stars: 4
ESPN Junior 300: No. 16

SEC

Arkansas
Justin Cantrell, TE
HT: 6-3 WT: 245
Positional Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation pending

Auburn
Montavious Atkinson, OLB
HT: 6-2 WT: 205
Positional Rank: N/A
Stars: 3

South Carolina
Michael Bowman, WR
HT: 6-0 WT: 195
Positional Rank: No. 19 WR
Stars: 4
ESPN Junior 300: No. 147

Tennessee
Stephen Griffin, S
HT: 6-2 WT: 185
Positional Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation pending

American

South Florida
Deundre Pickett-White, ATH
HT: 6-0 WT: 192
Positional Rank: N/A
Stars: 3

Trevon Sands, RB
HT: 5-11 WT: 181
Positional Rank: N/A
Stars: 3

Independents

BYU
Kimane Domena, QB-DT
HT: 6-1 WT: 188
Positional Rank: N/A
Stars: 3

C-USA

Louisiana Tech
LaDante Davenport, DT
HT: 6-2 WT: 260

Brandon Durman, ILB
HT: 6-1 WT: 215

Aaron Roberson, CB
HT: 5-10 WT: 181

Trey Spencer, ATH
HT: 5-11 WT: 160

Dwaine Thomas, OLB
HT: 6-2 WT: 210

Rice
Ross Donelly, DT
HT: 6-2 WT: 300
Positional Rank: No. 21 DT
Stars: 4
ESPN Junior 300: No. 229

Hunter Herndon, ATH
HT: 6-4 WT: 236

Tulane
Devin Glenn, RB
HT: 5-8 WT: 142

UAB
Ryan Barbour, TE-Y
HT: 6-4 WT: 240

Jamarius Henderson, RB
HT: 5-11 WT: 205
Positional Rank: N/A
Stars: 3

Mid-American

Central Michigan
Romello Ross, RB
HT: 5-10 WT: 175
Positional Rank: N/A
Stars: 3

Western Michigan
Parker Underwood, TE-Y
HT: 6-4 WT: 235
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On Thursday, highly coveted ESPN Junior 300 quarterback Josh Rosen made his commitment to UCLA. Ranked the nation's No. 1 pocket passer and No. 16 overall recruit for the Class of 2015, Rosen is now the Bruins' top verbal commitment. Read below to see what our scouts expect from him in Pasadena:


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When the next big thing in Southern California recruiting isn’t standing behind center, he’s in the middle of the baseball diamond, staring down batters from the pitching mound.


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