Jim Mora on Josh Rosen: 'I Don't Think He's Going to Leave' UCLA

Tim DanielsFeatured ColumnistAugust 16, 2017

TUCSON, AZ - SEPTEMBER 26:  Head coach Jim Mora of the UCLA Bruins congratulates quarterback Josh Rosen #3 after Rosen scored on a eighth yard rushing touchdown against the Arizona Wildcats  during the third quarter of the college football game at Arizona Stadium on September 26, 2015 in Tucson, Arizona. The Bruins defeated the Wildcats 56-23.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

UCLA head football coach Jim Mora said his "firm belief" is star quarterback Josh Rosen won't declare for the 2018 NFL draft following the Bruins' 2017 season. 

On Wednesday, Pete Thamel of Yahoo Sports passed along comments from Mora, who admitted his outlook is subject to change during or after Rosen's junior campaign.

"I want a disclaimer, I have an option to change my opinion," he said. "But as we sit here right now, I can really honestly say I don't think he's going to leave."

Rosen is projected as one of the top prospects in next year's NFL draft. Unless he struggles during the upcoming season, Mora's comments likely fall under the umbrella of wishful thinking.

The 20-year-old California native has completed 59.7 percent of his throws for 5,584 yards with 33 touchdowns and 16 interceptions across 19 games at UCLA. He's shown the arm talent NFL teams crave, but his task this year will be showing more consistency, especially against top opponents.

In addition, he was limited to six appearances last season due to a shoulder injury. He must prove he's back to full strength to maintain his draft stock.

The recent focus hasn't been on Rosen's on-field performance or off-field recovery, though. Instead, it's been on his comments about college, football and his love for the game.

Last week, he told Bleacher Report's Matt Hayes it's difficult to balance course work, particularly at a school like UCLA, and everything that comes along with being a top-flight football player.

"Look, football and school don't go together. They just don't," Rosen said. "Trying to do both is like trying to do two full-time jobs. There are guys who have no business being in school, but they're here because this is the path to the NFL. There's no other way. Then there's the other side that says raise the SAT eligibility requirements. OK, raise the SAT requirement at Alabama and see what kind of team they have. You lose athletes and then the product on the field suffers."

When informed a scout felt he lacked fire, passion and a true love of football, he replied: "I don't love the game? Really? If I didn't love the game, I wouldn't be out here getting my ass kicked."

The outside noise will only intensify once Rosen returns to action and attempts to prove he does deserve to go early in next year's NFL draft. The Bruins are set to kick off the season with a high-profile home clash against Texas A&M on Sept. 3.