Jerry Neuheisel playing professional football in Japan

Jerry Neuheisel is the only UCLA quarterback with significant game experience, but few consider him the favorite to win the starting spot. (Andy Holzman/Staff)

After playing at UCLA, Jerry Neuheisel moved to Japan and is now playing professionally with the Obic Seagulls. (Andy Holzman/Staff)

The eight former UCLA players who were drafted in this year’s NFL Draft and the four more who signed as undrafted free agents aren’t the only former Bruins embarking on professional football careers right now.

Former UCLA quarterback Jerry Neuheisel is currently playing professionally in Japan’s Obic Seagulls after he passed on his final year of eligibility with the Bruins.

The Japan Times caught up with Neuheisel after he played a spring tournament game this past weekend against the All-Mitsubishi Lions. He tossed a 67-yard touchdown pass on his first play, but also threw two interceptions during the game.

He told The Japan Times that he was “pleasantly surprised” with the talent in Japan after only a few weeks of practice, adding that it’s “second to none.”

  • EncinitasBruin

    Good for lil Jerry. Would love to hear the stadium announcer try to pronounce his last name…

  • Benjamin Hayes

    Why didn’t he finish his final year at UCLA? I would think a D1 scholarship is worth more than a professional contract to play football in Japan…. in terms of competition, recognition, and monetary value.

    • BruinBrock

      I’m pretty sure he graduated already. He had one year of eligibility left, but I think he decided to move on since he’s already finished his degree.

      • Laker Rod

        Jerry could have gone on to graduate school. What if Rosen gets hurt…Fafaul? Or yet another true freshman? LOL!

        • 88 Straight

          Jerry has already done more than you and he didn’t have to lie about it. Did you ever think that after sitting on the bench he wanted an opportunity to play somewhere? Or are you going to criticize him as selfish?

          • Laker Rod

            Bite your tongue already. You never say anything which is right. Myles Jack a 1st rounder. LOL!!! HA HA HA!

          • 88 Straight

            Such a pathetic little tool. It’s clear that nobody ever drafted you, even on the playground. Whining loser!

          • Laker Rod

            LOL!! Sore loser. You’re just butt hurt because you were HUMILIATED. Jack a 1st rounder per you. LOL!!! Talk about dumb.

      • Richard

        My mutual agreement his presence was not wanted at UCLA at this juncture. Sure he will come back and coach at his alma mater in the future but “too many cooks spoil the broth”
        He would have been interfering w/ Tui’s communication w JR & Tui is a 100X better QB coach than Jerry.
        God Bless Jerry & when he comes back I pray he brings 2 or 3 Sumo wrestler type 330lb OL w/ him…maybe even a DT, as well.

  • PVBruin17

    As a life-long Obic Seagulls fan, I’m really excited about this.

  • 92104bruinfan

    The biggest takeaway from that article has to be the Kevin Craft sighting.

  • jameskatt

    Here are some excerpts from Wikipedia and the web:

    The Japan American Football Association (JAFA) was established in 1934.

    The Japan American Football Association oversees junior high school, high school, collegiate, club, and corporate American football teams throughout Japan.

    Since 1984, the JAFA has organized and sponsored the Rice Bowl, a championship game played between the college national champion and the X-League champion.

    The JAFA consists of approximately 390 teams. JAFA has three different football leagues made up of 64 corporate-sponsored professional teams, 220 university teams, and 106 high school teams.

    The X-League is the top-level American football league in Japan. It was founded in 1971 as the Japan American Football League, and changed its name to the X League in 1997.

    There are two types of teams, one being a company team in which only employees of that particular sponsoring company may participate as a player, and the other classified as a club team for which anyone can try out.

    Game rules are based on those of the NCAA college division in America, with the exception of the length of quarters, which are 12 minutes (the same as the NBA) instead of 15.

    Americans are often recruited to play for X League teams, with a strict rule of four per team. No more than two foreign players per team are allowed on the field of play at a time.

    Kevin Craft (born October 15, 1985) is a former college football quarterback at UCLA, who played for the Cougars de Saint-Ouen l’Aumône, France in France and currently plays for the IBM Big Blue in the Japanese X-League.

    Craft, who is one of the first non-Japanese quarterbacks in the league alongside Oregon State University product Lyle Moevao of the Elecom Lobe Finies, gave Japanese fans a taste of what he could do in his X League debut.

    Craft threw 59 passes, and completed 49 of them, for 439 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He hit his first 17 passes to start the game, though IBM eventually lost 24-20 to the powerhouse Fujitsu Frontiers at Tokyo Dome.

    Craft had a big impact in his first year in Japan. With the ex-UCLA player under center, the BigBlue turned into a prolific offensive team. They averaged 367.7 total yards (184.4 passing) in the 2011 fall season, and improved to 469.7 yards (279.9) with Craft the following year.

    In the 2014 season, Craft led the X League with 1,927 yards passing, threw a league-high 22 touchdowns.