NCF On The Trail: Josh Rosen

A quick check of the recently released Ultimate ESPN 300 reveals a strong Pac-12 quarterback presence toward the top of the list. The three conference quarterbacks in the top 25 are tied for the most players at one position from one conference.

Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck leads the way for the Pac-12 at No. 9. He’s the No. 2 quarterback on the list and the top-10 player that made the biggest jump from his original ranking, moving all the way from No. 61 in the 2008 class. USC quarterback Matt Barkley checks in at No. 11, one of 15 current or former Trojans on the list. Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota is in at No. 25, as his Heisman Trophy-winning season resulted in a huge rise from last year, where he was No. 228. Mariota and fellow Heisman winner Johnny Manziel are the only two of the top 36 prospects that were not ranked in the ESPN 150 or 300 of their recruiting class.

With that group firmly established as the top three Pac-12 quarterbacks since ESPN rankings began with the 2006 class, we take a look at the present and future of the conference, with three quarterbacks in each of those groups that could eventually play their way into a future Ultimate ESPN 300.

Pac-12 2015 recruiting in review 

February, 12, 2015
Feb 12
The Pac-12 landed six top-30 recruiting classes and 47 ESPN 300 prospects as every program brought in potential immediate, impact players capable of making an impression on the 2015 season. Here, we take a look back at the recruiting cycle and signing day, and hand out some superlatives for the 2015 recruiting class.

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By a conservative count, more than two dozen true freshmen made significant impacts for their teams during the 2014 season, with players such as Oregon running back Royce Freeman and USC do-it-all talent Adoree' Jackson stealing headlines all season. The possibility of earning playing time as a true freshman is now a recruiting pitch that must be used by every coach across the country. Pac-12 prospects are taking advantage, as seemingly more and more young players are making impacts each year. Looking ahead at the 2015 season, here are 10 prospects committed to Pac-12 programs who could make their presence felt on the field as true freshmen.

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Top early enrollees: Pac-12 

January, 14, 2015
Jan 14
Pac-12 fields will be littered with early enrollees this spring, as prospects look to get a jump on acclimating themselves to the rigors of being a student-athlete at the college level. While every year there are true freshmen who enroll in the fall and become immediate impact players, there is no denying that an extra semester on and off the field gives those recruits who enroll early an advantage when it comes to making impacts their first year. Here is a look at five Pac-12 early enrollees:

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UCLA fell short of preseason expectations in 2014, but it still posted three wins over top-25 teams and has an opportunity to finish the year with 10 wins. That success also came largely on the back of a large group of young players, which means that -- aside from the best player on offense and defense -- the Bruins should have very few holes to fill with the depth already on the roster as well as a tremendous 2015 recruiting class.

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Tale of the tape: USC vs. UCLA 

November, 20, 2014
Josh Rosen, Sam Darnold, Ricky TownTom Hauck for Student SportsIn Josh Rosen (UCLA), Sam Darnold (USC) and Ricky Town (USC), the Bruins and Trojans have pledges from three of the top seven pocket passers in the 2015 class.

There's no hotter ticket for Southern California recruits than the one that gets them into the Rose Bowl this weekend, as USC travels across town to take on UCLA. Both programs have an opportunity to make a statement in front of what should be a star-studded group of recruits.

The Bruins and Trojans already have put together solid 2015 recruiting classes, as both rank among the top 20 programs in the country -- USC checks in at No. 13, UCLA at No. 18. This game won't make or break either recruiting class, but a win sure gives that staff some significant recruiting ammunition against what could be its biggest competition for several ESPN 300 prospects looking to make their decisions close to signing day.

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There is no more fertile recruiting ground for Pac-12 programs than Southern California, and when it comes to that area’s recruits, there is no more important game than UCLA-USC. While this game doesn’t always predict the program that will end up with the better recruiting class, it certainly gives the victor more recruiting momentum than any other game on the schedule. Saturday marks an important date for both programs, as the game will take place in front of some of the Southland’s top recruits, as well as more than a handful of out-of-state visitors.

A UCLA win would give the Bruins three straight in the series and give the coaches some significant ammunition to discuss going into the final months of the recruiting calendar. A USC win, on the other hand, would give head coach Steve Sarkisian an opportunity to boast that the Trojans ceased all the Bruins’ forward momentum in his first year on the job despite a depleted roster.

It’s always entertaining when these two programs get together on the field, and fun to take a look behind the scenes at a few factors that led to the makeup of these rosters, and factors that will help set up future clashes between the Los Angeles programs. Here we take a look at what kind of impact the 2014 class is already making, and what 2015 recruits could be in line to do the same next year.

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Pac-12's top recruiting visits 

October, 31, 2014
ESPN 300 prospects are set to scatter all over the Pac-12 landscape this weekend, as several conference programs are hosting very important official visit weekends. We take a look around the Pac-12 at the three biggest recruiting weekends in the conference.

Stanford at Oregon

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A lot of talent has already come off the board, but there’s still quality at the top of the ESPN 300 that could give at least 10 teams a shot at the second-best class. Plus, Penn State's James Franklin continues to be the most talked about coach in the Washington D.C. metro area.

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UA jersey tour: Iman Marshall

October, 17, 2014
Cornerback Iman Marshall was the center of attention at Long Beach (Calif.) Poly on Friday morning, as he received his Under Armour All-America Game jersey. It's the second consecutive year a Jackrabbits standout will take part in the game, as Marshall follows Juju Smith, from the 2014 class.

Marshall will follow Smith's lead in another aspect as well, as the five-star cornerback and nation's No. 8 overall prospect will keep recruiting fans guessing as to his ultimate destination all the way to signing day.

While Marshall announced earlier this fall that he would take official visits to Florida State, LSU, Michigan, Notre Dame and Oklahoma, those have yet to be scheduled.

"Everything is still the same," Marshall said of his recruiting plan. "I'm just enjoying the process and the season. I'm excited for my five officials."

Although, everything might not be the same for long, as Marshall added that those might not actually be the five schools he visits.

"I have a feeling I might switch one, but I'm still debating," Marshall said, declining to state what school might not actually receive a trip.

SATs have prevented Marshall from taking official visits to this point, and he said he hopes to eventually take some during the end of the season so there isn't a rush to take them all after the season ends. One thing that isn't likely to change between now and the end of the year is that the three California schools involved -- Stanford, UCLA and USC -- will all be in the race until the end.

Six questions with Iman Marshall

Who are you most looking forward to playing with at the Under Armour All-America Game?

Marshall: "First off I would love to play with Josh Rosen, Christian Kirk and Cordell Broadus. There are a lot of guys on the East Coast as well, but those are the three that come to my mind right now."

If you could start your team with any player from the 2015 recruiting class, who would it be?

Marshall: "I'd have Rosen at quarterback, Broadus on one side and Kirk on the other, with Calvin Ridley in there also. Me at cornerback, Derwin James at safety and Kevin Tolliver on the other side of me. John Houston and Jeffery Holland at linebacker."

What is your earliest football memory?

Marshall: "In my first game, I went 85 yards for a touchdown on my first carry."

What football player did you idolize growing up?

Marshall: "As a defensive back, of course, I wanted to be like Deion Sanders. Every DB wants to be like him."

If you could take on any professional at their sport, who would it be?

Marshall: "I'd take on LeBron or Kobe at basketball. You can't miss that."

Why do you wear your number (8)?

Marshall: "Nobody knows this but the reason I got eight was that in Pop Warner, my number was zero. They didn't have zero in high school, so the closest number that looks like zero is eight."

UA jersey tour: Josh Rosen

October, 16, 2014
Quarterback Josh Rosen was presented his Under Armour All-America Game jersey Thursday afternoon during a presentation at Bellflower (California) St. John Bosco in front of his friends, family, teammates and coaches.

"It's awesome," Rosen said. "Every single event is special in its own right. All of this is notoriety for the school, the staff, and helping Bosco as an institution. I'm just enjoying the benefits of some hard work."

It's not the first time all eyes have been on Rosen, and it likely won't be the last. While plenty can change between now and 2015 spring ball practices, there is a very good chance that UCLA will be looking for a new starting quarterback, as Brett Hundley could opt to enter the NFL draft. As an early enrollee, Rosen, the nation's No. 19 overall prospect and No. 1 pocket passer, would likely find himself in that battle, and there isn't much doubt as to Rosen's ability to handle that kind of pressure.

"Right away his maturity is going to separate him," St. John Bosco head coach Jason Negro said. "Josh's maturity is off the charts. His knowledge of the game and his preparation is off the charts, and I definitely believe that the similarity between what UCLA does offensively and what we've done offensively here at Bosco over the last four years is really going to allow him to step in and compete right away."

Negro cited Rosen's growing understanding of defense, as opposing coaches throw more and more complex schemes at Rosen, is an aspect of him game that will help him immensely in college as well.

Rosen isn't one to shy away from a challenge and understands exactly what kind of opportunity could be waiting for him at UCLA. Rosen cited a nationally televised game against Las Vegas Bishop Gorman and an appearance in last year's state title game as situations in which he's been asked to take snaps in pressure situations in front of sizeable audiences.

"I think playing at a program like this, against the talent in the Trinity League and Pac-5, has prepared me to where I can, not seamlessly transition over, which is not even possible, but maybe have a less bumpy transition and maybe move into college with a cleaner entry than most," Rosen said. "Especially because I'm getting there early, so I can take the mistakes on the chin in the spring and once all my buddies get up there in the summer, I can help them along and be a leader for them."

For now though, Rosen has his sights set squarely on finishing his senior season on a strong note. He's told the UCLA coaches that they don't need to use their weekly recruiting call on him if the time can be better spent recruiting other prospects and said that from Sunday through Friday, his focus is fully on his Bosco team.

"The Gorman loss was as frustrating as can be and it made us hit the reset button and refocus as a team more internally rather than externally," Rosen said. "I think we're headed in a positive direction. We're definitely on the path to repeating a state championship."

Five questions with Josh Rosen

If you could start a team with one recruit from the 2015 class, who would it be?

"I think I’d say Alize [Jones]. I could put him at left tackle. I could put him at receiver. I could put him at linebacker. If I could multiply him by 21 and I could be the quarterback, it’d work out relatively well."

What is your first football memory?

"My favorite early football memory is being trapped out of our practice. We practice at South High and the gates were shut and we had no way of getting into practice so we drove through the high school hallways and ended up clipping off one of his mirrors trying to get to practice on time."

If you could take on any pro at their sport, who would it be?

"I would like to play Andy Roddick in tennis."

Why do you wear your number (3)?

"I have a weird OCD thing about everything I do is in multiples of three. Ever since kindergarten or first grade, the number three has always appealed to me. In youth basketball and soccer I was never too picky about it and just got what came to me. I was never the kid in the front of the line pushing and shoving for numbers. But I got a choice and picked three and thought it looked good. They didn’t really let me steal it from Bryce Treggs my freshman year, but I got it my sophomore year and I like it."

What is something people might not know about you?

"I DJ for fun. I play the guitar. I’m interested in astrophysics -- if I had a little more time I’d love to major in it, but I don’t know if that will end up working out. I spend most of my time watching documentaries and YouTube videos on the origins of the universe and Stephen Hawking’s string theory."

Pac-12 South recruiting roundup 

October, 16, 2014
At the halfway point of college football's regular season, there is still plenty to be decided both on the field and on the recruiting trail. The Pac-12 placed six programs among the top 40 recruiting classes in Wednesday's updated class rankings Insider and conference recruiting classes contain as many as 24 -- Arizona -- and as few as nine -- Stanford -- commitments. This update offers a look at where each Pac-12 South program stands with its 2015 recruiting class, including its top prospect and position of strength, as well as a look at where things are going well for each class.


Total number of commitments: 24

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UA jersey tour: Cordell Broadus

October, 13, 2014
Cordell Broadus was presented with his Under Armour All America jersey on Monday afternoon, in a ceremony attended by friends and family. Of course, one attendee was just a bit easier to recognize than others, as Broadus is the son of Calvin Broadus, better known to most as Snoop Dogg.

But Broadus made it known early on in his recruiting process that if programs and coaches are merely looking to make a splash by landing the son of the legendary rapper, they shouldn't waste their time.

"They should know from the jump that if you're recruiting somebody it should be for who they are," Broadus said, adding that so far, coaches have been good about that angle. "It hasn't come up yet, but I would stay away from a college that did that. It'd feel like it's fake, and that it wasn't for me and my athletic ability."

After making the move from Diamond Bar (Calif.) High School to Las Vegas (Nev.) Bishop Gorman this past offseason, the 6-foot-2, 192-pound wide receiver finds himself a significant member of a nationally-ranked program that finished its nonconference schedule with wins over powers from Arizona and Utah, as well as four wins over top California programs. All the Gaels have done in two conference games is post a combined 130-0 score line as Bishop Gorman seeks yet another state title. Broadus ranks second on the team with 22 receptions for 297 yards and five touchdowns.

While Broadus, the nation's No. 133 recruit and No. 14 wide receiver, sports an impressive offer sheet, he said his focus has been on his senior season rather than recruiting. As a result, he has yet to truly begin narrowing down his finalists and said he would like to see as many of the schools that have extended scholarships as possible.

Broadus said Arizona, Arizona State, Florida State, Notre Dame and Washington will eventually receive official visits, while he was at the Rose Bowl on an unofficial visit to UCLA this past weekend.

"I want to see if I can fit in comfortably and if they need me at the wide receiver position," Broadus said of what he'll be looking for during his visits.

Seven questions with Cordell Broadus

What players are you looking forward to competing with or against at the UA All America Game?

"A lot of my friends that I grew up with will be at the game. Iman Marshall, Josh Rosen, John Houston. Those guys."

If you could start a team with any other player in your class, who would it be?

"Iman Marshall at the cornerback position. He's such a big corner. He can contribute and shut down a whole side of the field. He has a great head on his shoulders."

What was your earliest football memory?

"My dad forcing me to play football because I didn't want to play football right away. I didn't really start liking football until seventh or eighth grade. In eighth grade I started officially working out, doing cone work and running routes. When you start working on your craft, the more time you put in, the better you get."

Which football player did you watch as a kid?

"I liked to watch Jerry Rice, Keenan Allen, Kez Bryant, Terrell Owens, A.J. Green. Guys like that."

If you could take on any pro in their sport, who would it be?

"I'd take on Alex Morgan in soccer. Just for a chance to hang out with her and get her number."

Why do you wear your number (21)?

"My mom had me at the age of 21, so I really represent that. And my dad is from 21st Street as well."

What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?

"I like reading. I read a lot of books on a wide variety of topics. Also, I want to be a director and direct their favorite movie."

Pac-12's top recruiting visits 

October, 3, 2014

Every Pac-12 game this week comes with some significant intrigue, as this could turn into a separation Saturday in the South, while the North matchups pit two programs coming off close, emotional wins and two coming off tough road defeats. There will be official visitors all over the conference this weekend, but with two important games in Los Angeles, much of the recruiting focus will be there -- evidenced by our look at the top three recruiting visit weekends in the Pac-12.

1. USC

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Big Ten teams need to find a way to increase athleticism through recruiting and Wisconsin is working hard in Florida to make that happen. Plus, UCLA quarterback commit Josh Rosen continues to be the gift that keeps on giving for the Bruins on the recruiting trail.

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