UCLA secured a commitment Thursday afternoon from one of the most impressive quarterback recruits of this decade. Josh Rosen provides head coach Jim Mora with a promising prospect capable of orchestrating his offensive attack when potential Heisman Trophy contender Brett Hundley departs for the NFL.
The heralded 5-star passer from nearby St. John Bosco High School (Bellflower, Calif.) aims to please Bruins fans in Pasadena for years to come. Rosen's announcement punctuates a high-profile recruitment process, leaving coaching staffs in Berkeley and Ann Arbor in search of alternative options.
Earlier this month, the 6'4", 205-pound playmaker shared his four favorite programs with 247Sports reporter Justin Hopkins. Rosen, rated the country's No. 1 junior quarterback, revealed UCLA, Stanford, Michigan and Cal as the top contenders.
Stanford ultimately never extended a scholarship offer to the widely coveted quarterback, according to 247Sports. The Cardinal will welcome 4-star Palo Alto High School product Keller Chryst next season and seem content to move forward with him as the future behind center.
Meanwhile, Michigan and Cal come up short in a recruiting race that included both programs at an early stage. Each team hosted Rosen, who recently made his first trip to Ann Arbor.
He spent time on campus with the Wolverines last weekend, presenting an opportunity for head coach Brady Hoke and first-year offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier to deliver a final sales pitch in person. Rosen returned to Southern California with high praise from his experience at Michigan.
"It was awesome," he told Rivals.com (subscription required) writer Adam Gorney (h/t mlive.com). "I was sort of hoping to go there and not like it and have my decision cut out but definitely coach Nuss and coach Hoke made it a lot harder."
Despite the positive late development for Michigan, Rosen seemed to hint at the inevitability of his UCLA pact earlier this week.
"I'm pretty sure I'm going to stick with who I originally thought of," he admitted.
The Wolverines lost a pair of 5-star prospects this winter when athlete George Campbell (Tarpon Springs, Fla.) and running back Damien Harris (Berea, Ky.) decommitted. Michigan has struggled to regain momentum this year, as each player in its 2015 class initially pledged last summer.
The team added 3-star quarterback recruit Wilton Speight (Richmond, Va.) to its roster this spring, but the early enrollee doesn't display the level of promise that Rosen regularly demonstrates. With the prodigious passer headed to UCLA, Hoke has already whiffed on several of his top-tier 2015 targets at the position.
The Wolverines expressed substantial interest in several quarterbacks early in the 2015 recruiting process, extending offers to a select few. Aside from Rosen, Michigan opened the door to Blake Barnett (Corona, Calif.), Jarrett Stidham (Stephenville, Texas) and David Sills (Elkton, Md.).
Barnett is bound for Notre Dame following a November commitment. Stidham decided to stay in the Lone Star State this month by joining Texas Tech's class.
Sills, a longtime USC pledge, is still a strong possibility for Michigan. The 3-star prospect received national attention when he verbally committed to former Trojans head coach Lane Kiffin while in middle school.
Plenty has changed since that initial decision. A new regime at USC flipped lauded California quarterback Ricky Town from Alabama in January, and the 5-star prospect figures to be the centerpiece of head coach Steve Sarkisian's 2015 class.
Sills planned to visit Michigan last week, according to mlive.com writer Nick Baumgardner. Hoke is certainly scouting other quarterbacks across the country and is likely to make offers to at least a few passers following a recent run on top talents.
Look for the Wolverines to explore intriguing possibilities like Brandon Wimbush (Jersey City, N.J.), James Morgan (Green Bay, Wisc.) and Dwayne Lawson (Tampa, Fla.). It's imperative for the program's 2015 recruiting efforts to add a quarterback commit as soon as possible if the right fit can be found.
Outside of UCLA, the Cal Golden Bears appeared to be Rosen's most likely in-state choice.
The program struggled mightily during the inaugural campaign of head coach Sonny Dykes' tenure. Cal managed just one victory—against FCS opponent Portland State—during a disappointing season.
Despite consistent struggles, the pass attack hummed at times under the direction of true freshman quarterback Jared Goff. He finished his first collegiate campaign with more than 3,500 yards and 18 touchdowns.
The quarterback figures to be one of the Pac-12's elite offensive weapons throughout his collegiate career and could ultimately decide to leave after his junior season with signs of steady progression in upcoming seasons.
The Golden Bears aren't necessarily in a quandary when it comes to quarterback depth. Cal signed 3-star passers Luke Rubenzer (Scottsdale, Ariz.) and Chase Forrest (Santa Anna, Calif.) in February and, barring injury, won't have to worry about its starter at the position until at least 2016.
Dykes has a distinct advantage recruiting in California, which features outstanding quarterback depth during the 2015 recruiting period.
Jake Browning (Folsom) is an obvious target. The 4-star prospect has spent time on campus and rates seventh among pro-style passers in 247Sports' composite rankings.
Brady White (Santa Clarita) also remains uncommitted. The Golden Bears have been heavily involved with his recruitment, but they must contend with recent offers from Arizona State, Nebraska and Penn State.
With Rosen off the table, Cal will carry on with its 2015 recruiting efforts in search of another top-tier talent. Michigan has no choice but to do the same.
UCLA is surely savoring today's announcement, and you can expect Mora to use it as a springboard. The Bruins can peddle the prized prospect as a reason for fellow recruits to hop on the bandwagon.
Michigan and Cal move forward empty-handed. There are no consolation prizes in recruiting, especially when chasing a talent like Rosen.