The Rivalry Will Heat Up

The rivarly between quarterback prospects Josh Rosen and Ricky Town has the makings of being epic: Vying for the #1 QB ranking and then potentially playing against each other at UCLA and USC. They'll face off on the field twice in the next two weeks...

The rivalry between Josh Rosen and Ricky Town has the potential to be the biggest personal rivalry in Los Angeles-area football in a long time – if not ever.

It has the potential to go from high school football and college prospect rankings to the fields of the Los Angeles Coliseum and the Rose Bowl and, perhaps a national stage.

Even thought it's the relative beginning of the rivalry, it will ramp up considerably over the next two weeks, with both slated to participate in the Los Angeles Nike Camp this Sunday and then in the big Pylon 7-on-7 Tournament in Las Vegas the next weekend.

It will, again, fuel the fire in what has become the biggest topic so far for the 2015 recruiting class: Which quarterback is #1?

Is it current #1, Town, the prospect from Ventura St. Bonaventure, who is verbally committed to USC?

Or is it Rosen, the current #2-ranked quarterback from Bellflower St. John Bosco, who is on the verge of verbally committing to UCLA?

It's the first time they've competed against each other since the Elite 11 competition last spring (when both were clearly the top two 2015 prospects competing, and Rosen had the edge, by the way) and it should only fuel the who's-#1 discussion.

Both being from SoCal, they tend to share the media spotlight; they've been 1-2 in the national Scout.com rankings of 2015 quarterbacks for some time, and now it appears both will ramp up the rivalry when they take their games to UCLA and USC for college.

Not only does it fit a Hollywood-type script in terms of competition, it fits in terms of the personal angle. Town and Rosen are the classic contrast in personalities. Town is the somewhat shy, soft-spoken type, and Rosen is brash and slightly arrogant.

They've never played each other in high school, even though they came close as sophomores. In 2012, Town led St. Bonaventure to the Marmonte League Championship and the #1 seed in the Pac-5 Division. Rosen led St. John Bosco to its first-ever Trinity League championship and the #2 seed in the division. So they were set on a collision course to meet in the final. But in the semi-final, both St. Bonaventure and St. John Bosco lost, both Town and Rosen playing a bit like sophomores, with Town throwing five interceptions and Rosen three.

Just recently, Scout.com's Greg Biggins compared and contrasted the two in a Early Look at the West's 2015 Quarterbacks, and he did a story last September, Town vs. Rosen: Who's Better?.

We concede that it's a close call between the two. In fact, it's probably a coin flip. Scout.com's eminent recruiting experts, Biggins and Brandon Huffman, have to make the call, though, to rank someone #1, and they've continued to assert that Town has the slight edge, even after Rosen had a spectacular junior season leading St. John Bosco to the California State Championship. To the credit of Biggins and Huffman, they haven't flip-flopped every time one of these guys had a great performance at a camp or combine, because you literally could do that. The experts have smartly asserted that, since it's such a close call, they'd wait until this spring, and the various camps and 7-on-7s, to make a determination between the two quarterback prospects. Even if Rosen were to clearly dominate Town in the next two weekends, the Scout.com rankings might not be altered just yet, perhaps allowing for at least the spring to play out.

Or they might.

So the drama is set. Never in the west have we had such a movie-script type story between two prospects – let alone two quarterbacks. UCLA and USC have had their rivalry quarterbacks, for sure, like Troy Aikman and Rodney Peete, or Tommy Maddox and Todd Marinovich. The closest to Rosen/Town might have been the high school rivalry of Bret Johnson and Marinovich, the two playing against each other in the 1980s at El Toro and Capistrano Valley, respectively, and then taking that rivalry to UCLA and USC. Johnson actually came into UCLA as the nation's #1-ranked quarterback (even though we can't remember who did that ranking), but Johnson never developed at UCLA and the rivalry didn't materialize in college; Johnson was benched for the 1989 rivalry game and UCLA started Jim Bonds against USC and Marinovich. Johnson then transferred to Michigan State, and Maddox took over the starting quarterback spot in 1990, and the mantle of the rivalry with Marinovich.

This rivalry between Rosen and Town has a much better chance to materialize, and has the potential, with its history, to be the biggest L.A. has ever seen.

Over the next two weeks not only will they face off against each other but Rosen has scheduled a press conference for March 20th to announce his decision. It's widely accepted he'll pick up a UCLA hat -- and then further throw down the gauntlet in the rivalry.

The next two weeks, then, should be glorious, and just the beginning.


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