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Josh Rosen ready to lead UCLA

The UCLA Bruins are entering their fourth season under head coach Jim Mora Jr. Despite losing quarterback Brett Hundley to the National Football League and the Green Bay Packers, there is an incredible sense of optimism about the program. After consecutive 10-win seasons and victories in the Alamo and Sun Bowls, UCLA has its eyes on a larger prize over the next few years with freshman quarterback Josh Rosen taking over the helm.

Rosen was officially announced the starter at the position this week, something that can as a shock to nobody. Rosen is a five-star recruit, perhaps the most important get for the Bruins since Troy Aikman transferred in the late 1980s from the University of Oklahoma. Rosen is a coach’s dream, giving Mora a chance to win and win big in the PAC-12 over the next three seasons.

While Mora has been giving Rosen plenty of tough love through the media, the blue-chip recruit feels good about where the relationship is, according to Kyle Bonagura of ESPN.com.

“I know 100 percent that Mora has my back through thick and thin, inside and outside of UCLA, inside and outside of football,” Rosen said. “I have complete trust in him and complete trust in this team. Whatever he does, I’m the utmost confident that it’s for the betterment of myself as an individual and the team as a whole.”

Furthermore, Rosen stated that a big part of why he came to UCLA was the chance to play early in his career, something even the best recruits don’t often have. Even Johnny Manziel had to redshirt his first season at Texas A&M University before winning the Heisman Trophy the following year.

“It was a big factor, as it is with everyone,” Rosen said of the opportunity to play early. “Everyone in general in college football now, and in athletics in general, is just better and more athletic and the trend is to want to play earlier and faster and a lot of guys are leaving for the NFL earlier because everyone is just that much better.

“It’s definitely a lure to get into a program and take over from Day 1.”

For Rosen, he has his work cut out. UCLA starts out the season with a tough non-conference schedule, beginning at home against Virginia on Sept. 5. The following two weeks include the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels on the road before hosting the BYU Cougars.

Conference play brings three ranked opponents to the table in a row, with games at Arizona, home to Arizona State and at Stanford. From there, the Bruins won’t have to face a ranked team until their annual clash with the USC Trojans at the Los Angeles Coliseum on Nov. 28.

The expectations are high for both UCLA and Rosen, who has the weight of the campus on his shoulders.

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