JC Quarterback is a Possibility

You might remember this current Mt. SAC quarterback from high school in 2004, when he showed a great deal of interest in UCLA but ended up at another Pac-10 school for his freshman season. Could he now end up in Westwood?

In 2004, Brian Hildebrand graduated from Corona (Calif.) High as an Elite 11 quarterback, bound for Oregon State. But after spending a year in Corvallis, a traffic jam at the quarterback position expedited his departure at Oregon State and Hildebrand ended up at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut.

The starter for the first seven games for Mt. SAC this last season, Hildebrand's continuously windy road took another turn when he tore a ligament in his thumb.

While beginning to re-hab his thumb, back in December Hildebrand then hoped that the the windy road would end in Boulder, Colorado.

"I was all set to go to Colorado and they were just waiting on my grades from the fall semester," Hildebrand said. "A week before my grades came out, Coach (Gary) Barnett got fired. Then Coach (Dan) Hawkins came in and Colorado just didn't work out."

But to get a sense of where the road could lead now, you have to go back to the road's beginning. During Hildebrand's recruitment in high school, Hildebrand was very interested in the Bruins, attending UCLA's summer camps and several home games that fall. But UCLA had made Matt Tuiasosopo and Erik Ainge their top two quarterback targets. Hildebrand, not wanting to wait around to see what UCLA would do, accepted a the scholarship offer from Oregon State.

UCLA then struck out with Tuiasosopo and Ainge, and started to show the interest in Hildebrand that he wanted earlier, but he had given his word to the Beavers staff and stuck with it.

Having just completed his redshirt freshman season at Mt. SAC, Hildebrand said he would prefer to transfer this summer, when he will be finished with his A.A., and get a chance to resume his D-1 football career. But if need be, he said he'd stay at Mt. SAC to generate more recruiting interest and D-1 scholarship offers. "I'm really wanting to talk to some Pac-10 schools," he said.

Now, three years later, Hildebrand's road could possibly go full circle, back to where his original interest was, with UCLA. Hildebrand has been in contact with UCLA recently and said he was planning to get his transcripts to the UCLA coaches and then pursue the possibilities.

"I felt like I had a pretty good relationship with UCLA and with Coach (Karl) Dorrell when I was in high school. That's where I wanted to go and we always had a good relationship," said Hildebrand. "But they were looking at other quarterbacks and Oregon State had offered me and that's where I decided to go. But I always had interest in them."

Now a humbled, but driven player, Hildebrand said he's more prepared for recruiting this time around: "I know that during the summer when I left Oregon State, most schools already had their quarterbacks signed, so I had to go to Mt. SAC. Plus, I didn't have enough credits to transfer just yet, and some other stuff happened with coaches from there saying some things to other schools that I didn't appreciate. But I'm not really jaded by the whole thing. I'm just looking at other opportunities."

Hildebrand said that his interest in UCLA is strong enough that, if things worked out, he could end up there, even possibly as a walk-on. But with things still up in the air, his current plan is to return to Mt. SAC. "I'm not sure what (UCLA's) interest level in me is, but I talked to them and let them know that I am looking to transfer into there," said Hildebrand.

With only three quarterbacks on scholarship at UCLA,, including one that Hildebrand was ranked higher than in high school (Patrick Cowan), the quarterback situation at UCLA could be a desirable one for Hildebrand. However, given his experiences, he knows not to rely too much on anything at this point. He said, "If there are other opportunities, then I'd look at them. Right now, there doesn't look like many, so in my mind, I'm coming back to Mt. SAC. But things change. I'm done with my A.A. this summer so we'll see what happens. But I don't want to rush anything, don't want to cram. I'm more prepared this time."

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