Josh Rosen had an incredible high school career and will go down as one of the best quarterbacks the state has produced in the last decade. He finished 15-0 the last three years in the brutal Trinity League, won a CIF and state title as a junior and nearly led a furious 2nd half comeback in the CIF title game this year before falling to Corona (Calif.) Centennial.
"The interception I had in that game on the little RB screen play we had set up will honestly haunt me for the rest of my life," Rosen said. "That whole game was frustrating and we tried to battle back from behind but we couldn't stop them. I think if we got the ball back one last time we could have tied it up but it just wasn't meant to be I guess.
"I couldn't even watch the state game with Centennial and De La Salle but did turn it on to see a little of the second half. I really thought we had a team that could go back to back and win another state title. It was tough to go out like that but I congratulate Centennial, they're a great team and got the job done and we didn't."
Rosen was supposed to head out this weekend for the Under Armour AA Game but decided to sit this one out.
"I'm pretty banged up right now," Rosen said. "I took a helmet to my back in the Servite game that has affected me and I have some damaged tendons on my throwing hand as well. I had to sit out some practices the last few weeks of the season and I've lost about 20 pounds since the summer from not being able to lift.
"I felt really bad about it because Coach Negro is coaching in the game and it would have been one last time playing for him. I wrote a handwritten letter to Billy Tucker, who's in charge of the game and called up Steve Mariucci, who was the one who recruited me to play in the game. I explained my situation and they understood. It's not just the injuries, I would get back home January 3rd and then leave the next day for UCLA. We report on the 4th and it was just too much going on so I had to pull it out."
Rosen said he's both excited and nervous but ready for the next chapter of his life.
"I can't wait to get to UCLA but I'm also terrified," Rosen said. "It's going to be a huge transition for me but I'm looking forward to it. UCLA is off for a couple of weeks when I get there and then starting around January 18, we can do our own informer workouts with quarterbacks and receivers. I've already talked to Jordan Payton and he told me he's ready to go.
"I've talked to a few of the linemen, Caleb Benenoch, and everyone is excited to get going. I have a lot of friends on the team already so I'm excited about the challenge. I definitely plan to stay close to Jerry Neuheisel and learn as much as I can from him as possible. He knows so much about the game and is hilarious as well so I think he'll be a great mentor for me. The offense only loses one starter, Brett Hundley and the defense just loses three starters so I think we'll be very good next season. I know my role and I don't plan on coming in as that obnoxious, know it all freshman. I'm going to stay humble, learn from the veterans and do the best I can."
In the last few days, there has been rumors linking Rosen with Michigan if Jim Harbaugh took the Wolverines job but the quarterback said he's a Bruin.
"15 years ago, I would have probably gone to Michigan," Rosen said. "Not now though, I think the game is changing and it's opening up to more passer friendly, wide open type offenses and you just can't run those in the Midwest because of the weather. Nothing against Michigan, it's a great school but I have no interest in going there no matter who the head coach is.
"I'm 100% locked in with UCLA and I'm excited to be a Bruin. I'm excited about this recruiting class and I'm pretty confident we're going to land a few more pieces before Signing Day. I really wish we could have gotten Christian Kirk but I know how high he was on Texas A&M. I like the wide receivers we have right now though. It's a strong group with Payton, Devin Fuller, Mossi Johnson and Thomas Duarte. Like I said, I'm excited and just trying to rest and get healthy so I'll be ready to go by the time I get there."