UCLA set for fierce competition for 2015 starting quarterback job

UCLA set for fierce competition for 2015 starting quarterback job
UCLA quarterback Jerry Neuheisel looks to pass against Stanford on Nov. 28. (Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

It's never too early to delve into a quarterback competition.

UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley still has one game left in his college career, when the Bruins face Kansas State in the Valero Alamo Bowl on Friday. But offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone was asked about identifying a replacement on Wednesday.

UCLA returns quarterbacks Jerry Neuheisel and Asantii Woulard. Bellflower St. John Bosco High's Josh Rosen, considered one of the top high school quarterbacks in the nation, is expected to enroll at UCLA next week.

"It's going to be exciting," Mazzone said.

Of the current quarterbacks, the sophomore Neuheisel appears to have a significant edge over the freshman Woulard.

Mazzone said Hundley's backup this season was "Jerry by far. Jerry gets it. He really hasn't had a chance to be on the field, but Jerry has had a really good fall."

He also had a really good game. Neuheisel came off the bench after Hundley was injured against Texas and led the Bruins to a 20-17 victory.

"Jerry's really more than adequate," Mazzone said. "He has everything needed to win in this offense. What I like about Jerry is his emotions, his excitability. He wears all of that on his sleeve. It's kind of cool to see that passion."

As for Woulard, Mazzone said, "Nobody knows who third guys are [but] that doesn't mean they can't be great. There is just no time to develop them [during the season]."

Rosen will be given every chance to win the job in spring practice and fall training camp. Mazzone has never started a first-year freshman at quarterback, but said, "We don't have too complicated of an offense. It's five plays, then call them again, only change the order."