UCLA star QB Josh Rosen and true freshman defensive end Jaelen Phillips were included as two of the Top 100 players in college football in a recent list published by Sports Illustrated.
Rosen, the two-year starting QB for the Bruins is on the list at No. 84, after throwing for almost 2,000 yards and 10 TDs in only six games last year. Rosen’s career to this point with the Bruins hasn’t reached the expectations levied on him as a 5-star QB prospect in 2015. He was ranked 11th on the list a year ago. Here’s what SI wrote about Rosen:
The Josh Rosen Hype Train got derailed in 2016, but let’s not dismiss all the things that made Rosen the No. 11 player on this list last season. When healthy, he still has the arm that allows him to make precision throws most college quarterbacks wouldn’t dare attempt. Before a shoulder injury ended his season, Rosen threw for 1,915 yards with 10 touchdowns in six games. He desperately needs a go-to receiver after no replacement emerged for Jordan Payton last season, but perhaps new offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch, Michigan’s passing game coordinator for the prior two seasons, can right the ship. Rosen still has the tools to make good on the hype he carried with him into his college career.
Rosen is the ninth-highest ranked QB on the list and 4th in the PAC-12, trailing USC’s Sam Darnold (11), Washington’s Jake Browning (45) and Washington State’s Luke Falk (79). Despite his fall down the rankings and less-than spectacular results on the field, Rosen is still one of the top-draft prospects for 2018, going at No. 2 in the latest mock draft from CBS Sports.
Phillips inclusion in the list might be as much of a surprise as where Rosen checks in. He comes in at No. 76 and is the highest-ranked true freshman on the list, joining FSU running back Cam Akers as the only true freshman included.
But Phillips length, speed and versatility are things that make coaches salivate, and his potential impact on the Bruins pass rush cannot be undervalued. Here’s what SI wrote about Phillips.
A staggering rise from unranked to a top-five prospect put Phillips on the radar of national powerhouses in every conference, but the Redlands (Calif.) School product chose to stay close to home for college. Phillips could eventually develop into one of the Pac-12’s top pass-rushers, but UCLA may need him to speed up his developmental timeline after losing sacks leader Takkarist Mckinley to the NFL this off-season. Phillips has the physical tools (6’5”, 255 pounds) and athleticism to terrorize opposing quarterbacks right away, and he shouldn’t have any trouble getting up to speed this fall after enrolling early and participating in spring workouts.
If UCLA is to improve on its 4-8 record from a year ago, it will need big contributions from both Rosen and Phillips in 2017.