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2018 UCLA Football Spring Preview: Who Will Replace Josh Rosen?

While Josh Rosen’s career didn’t exactly go as planned, it’s now time to move on. Who will get the starting spot?

Devon Modster rolls out during Spring Practice 2017. Modster is one of the leading candidates to replace Josh Rosen at QB for the Bruins.
Joe Piechowski

Our final 2018 Spring Football Preview focuses on the quarterbacks. This looks like it could be a rebuilding year as UCLA is absolutely loaded with freshmen. However, the collective talent of this unit and Chip Kelly’s ability to use it will be the tipping point.

Who’s Gone?

Well, yes, the obvious. Josh Rosen is making his way to the pros this year, most likely with the New York Giants. I don’t think I’m alone in saying that I’m quite disappointed in the wasted opportunity we had with Rosen to move onward and upward when he took the offensive reins from Brett Hundley. The crazy thing is when you look at what Rosen accomplished at UCLA, something doesn’t add up:

  • 9,341 career yards
  • 59 touchdowns
  • All-American honors as a freshman
  • Pac-12 Conference Freshman Offensive Player of the Year in 2015
  • Second-team all-conference honors as a junior
  • Set a new school record for single-season passing yards (3,756) in 2017.

How could we have a quarterback with a resume that looks like this and such crappy on-field results? I saw him going to Rose Bowls and maybe even the playoffs, but instead, we’re sitting here with a new head coach and six Mora years with no real accomplishments.

In addition to Rosen, redshirt junior Craig Meyers is eligible to return for a senior season, but he did participate in Senior Day last season. So, it’s not clear if he will be back for another year. If he does come back, he will be the oldest quarterback on the roster. If he chooses to move on, we wish him the best of luck in his future endeavors.

Who’s Back?

Well, we definitely have a lot of sophomores in the wings. Take a look:

2018 UCLA Football Spring Quarterbacks

Number Name Height Weight Year (as of Fall 2018)
Number Name Height Weight Year (as of Fall 2018)
6 Nick Juels 5-8 170 Sophomore
12 Austin Burton 6-3 195 Sophomore
15 Matt Lynch 6-4 218 R-Sophomore
17 Jackson Gibbs 6-1 190 Sophomore
18 Devon Modster 6-2 210 R-Sophomore
19 Craig Myers 5-11 185 R-Senior

Don’t get me wrong—this is not to say that these guys don’t have talent. Quite the opposite. But when it comes to experience and leading an offense and a team into the valley of the shadow of death, we don’t have a whole lot going for us.

Right now, Devon Modster is the lone man with the most playing time. It might seem that he’s the obvious choice as the starter, but Chip Kelly is not loyal to a fault like Jim Mora was. If he feels someone looks better, I have no doubt he’d start someone else. Right now, the competition this spring is wide open, especially since Matt Lynch also saw limited action last year and actually looked pretty good. Kelly will have a lot to experiment with and will no doubt choose the best man for the job.

Who’s Coming In?

Here’s where is gets really interesting. University of Washington backup quarterback K.J. Carta-Samuels announced on January 18 that he would be transferring to UCLA as a graduate student, and he will actually bring some much needed experience to the quarterbacks unit. He was given a full release by UW head coach Chris Peterson, will enroll in spring, and will immediately be eligible to play this fall. He was a four-star prospect coming out of high school, and may be a dark horse in the quarterback competition this spring. He spent the last two years watching Jake Browning sling the ball at UW, and saw some limited game time with a total of 310 yards and three touchdowns. It will be interesting to see how the competition plays out between Carta-Samuels, Modster, and Bishop Gorman alum Dorian Thompson-Robinson, when he shows up for fall camp. It’s actually nice to see that there is more than one viable man for the job.


While we don’t have a superstar on the roster anymore, I have a lot more confidence in Chip Kelly than I did in Jim Mora to coach these guys up. The one thing UCLA has not been able to do in recent years is develop players—take the three star guys and help them reach their potential, don’t let the four- and five-star guys flatline as soon as they get on campus. This is where we see wasted opportunities. We have plenty of talent—now, we just need to use it.

That’s a wrap for our 2018 UCLA Football Spring Previews! UCLA Spring Practice begins at 7:15 am tomorrow with new head coach Chip Kelly’s first practice.

Go Bruins!