Intro 2011: QB Jerry Neuheisel

With some notable connections to UCLA, Jerry Neuheisel, the 2011 quarterback prospect from Los Angeles (Calif.) Loyola is ready to emerge as a name to remember...

When Los Angeles (Calif.) Loyola takes the field this season, you can expect the Cubs to have a healthy running game. With a player like Anthony Barr in the backfield, coming off the junior season he had, head coach Jeff Kearin will likely keep the ball in Barr's hands as much as he can.

But Kearin also has a new quarterback running the offense for the Cubs this year in Jerry Neuheisel, a class of 2011 prospect. And with the reins of the offense now in his control, Neuheisel is chomping at the bit to get under center this fall for the Cubs.

"I can't wait for the season to start, we have a great team coming back and it doesn't hurt as a quarterback to have a player like Anthony Barr at running back who puts nine men in the box himself," said Neuheisel. "Last year, we had a difficult time throwing the ball and then we saw it at the end of the season that Anthony would get tired because he had to carry the load a lot. So this year, we're going to move the ball around."

Neuheisel played on JV last year as a sophomore but suited up and traveled with the varsity towards the end of the season.

This summer, he's spent most of his time strengthening his knowledge of the offense to lead it in the fall.

"I feel like I'm on point with our guys and I feel like we have our timing down," said Neuheisel "Our weapons outside might not be as good this year but the 7on7 allowed us to fix up the kinks on our routes."

Loyola will play an ambitious schedule, starting with Mira Costa, Mission Viejo, Newport Harbor and La Canada St. Francis before embarking on Serra League play with Bishop Amat, Notre Dame and Crespi.

"I would love to have the same success that some of the other quarterbacks (in the Serra League) have had and our team has the ability to help us," said Neuheisel.

As he begins his junior year, Neuheisel is fresh off a spring and summer in which he participated in a handful of camps, getting him more up to speed with the nuances of quarterbacking.

Neuheisel did the Los Angeles Nike Camp, the Top Gun Camp at FBU in Florida and was one of three underclassmen selected to be ball boys at the Elite 11 Camp.

With September 1st just around the corner, Neuheisel will become a legitimate college recruit, with the chance to earn official scholarships. But he knows what he's working against.

"Right now recruiting is a new thing and I've always heard from my dad that I'm going to play for UCLA," said Neuheisel. "But the reality is, I haven't taken a snap on varsity. So I know I have a lot to go out there and prove."

Given the obvious ties to the UCLA program, where his father, Rick, is the head coach, and a former Rose Bowl MVP for the Bruins, it would seem a slam-dunk that if UCLA were to offer Neuheisel a scholarship, he'd jump on it. But he's looking at the recruiting game with an open mind.

"Because of how my dad did there and being there as the coach, a lot of people think I'm automatically going there, but at this point, I'm not going to key myself on one school," said Neuheisel. "I like a lot of schools, especially some of those East Coast schools. I like Joe Paterno at Penn State and Coach Steve Spurrier at South Carolina. I mean, I'd love to stay on the West Coast, I love the weather out here, pretty much anywhere in the Pac-10. But after three years on the East Coast, I watched the SEC and ACC all the time, and they have some great schools out there."

Living in ACC country during his father's time with the Baltimore Ravens, Neuheisel said it was actually Virginia, and not Maryland, that he enjoyed watching more.

Neuheisel has seen plenty of recruits come through the doors of his home over the years during recruiting visits. He's seen what recruiting has been like from a coach's son perspective. But now that he's got the opportunity to go through the process himself, he's in no rush to put a quick end to it.

"I'd love to go through the process, that's when you have all the fun," said Neuheisel. "I'd definitely weigh my options and pick the school that is right for me. I think we always have had a little connection to UCLA, so even when we were on the East Coast, we were always UCLA fans."

Neuheisel has been around some of the best football minds growing up, and being the son of a coach has given him more opportunities to watch film, analyze defenses and the game itself, and he realizes how helpful that has been.

"With my dad and Coach (Norm) Chow, you get to see what it takes at the collegiate and NFL level," said Neuheisel. "A lot of guys my dad got to work with have been really successful. I'd say probably Taylor Barton is the one quarterback that I've had the best connection with."

Spending six years in Seattle, Neuheisel got to know several players who've become elite recruits themselves.

"I used to play on the same basketball team as Kasen Williams and Jake Heaps, and I've stayed close with all those guys and they are still great buddies to me," said Neuheisel.

Neuheisel said there are some parts of his game he's worked especially hard at to make his strengths.

"As far as my biggest strength, I'm going to have to go with I get the ball out quick, and I have a quick release and I'm quick with my head," said Neuheisel. "I've been around the game my whole life, so I know, as a quarterback, that if we're on time, no defense can beat our timing."

He also knows there are parts of his game he can fine-tune.

"I'd say arm strength, and probably my size too," said Neuheisel, who stands 6-1, 180. "Plus, you can always improve on your reads, there is always more to learn."

Neuheisel knows his situation is unique when it comes to recruiting. It's one thing to be an assistant coach's son, but a different thing to be the son of a head coach. Yet Neuheisel doesn't anticipate any kinds of issues.

"We've never had a problem separating my dad from being a coach, and he'll never grow away from that," said Neuheisel. "I know I'll never have a problem in the recruiting area."

In the meantime, Neuheisel is soaking up the experiences he's had at the various camps, or getting to go to practices at UCLA, or spending time watching film with his dad.

"The camps, I get to go make friends with a lot of these guys and at the camps you get to see the guys that are elite, and the guys that are the tops in the country," Neuheisel said. "As you've seen a lot of these guys, you get to measure yourself and get to improve. At the Elite 11, I learned a lot of good lessons and put in a lot of hard work. Knowing when to take advantage of the opportunities given and then just the chance to throw with them and improve on them."

Neuheisel said he'll be in Westwood a couple times this week to watch the beginning of UCLA's Fall Practice, but on Saturday, it's all about the Cubs.

"We start on Saturday, wait three days (in shells), then a couple padded practices then hell week," said Neuheisel.

With Barr behind him in the offense, Neuheisel knows that they'll lean heavily on the run, but he's also confident in his ability to make things happen with his own legs and arm.

"I know I'll get my throws, and Anthony will get his runs, but the goal is to score," said Neuheisel. "As long as we're scoring at the end of the drive, that's what matters. For me, the goal is to manage the game. If it's a tight game and a chance to win the game, my job in managing a game is making sure we have more points at the end of the game."

Neuheisel is also getting it done in the classroom, carrying a 3.6 GPA.

"I'm trying to challenge myself just as much in the classroom as well as on the field," said Neuheisel.

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