Four-star quarterback Devon Modster commits to UCLA

UCLA has landed a commitment from four-star quarterback Devon Modster, shoring up depth chart that looked very thin behind soon-to-be sophomore star Josh Rosen.

The Tesoro High standout was selected for the OC Register’s All-County team this past season, throwing for 3,355 yards and 25 touchdowns while accounting for 14 of his team’s 29 rushing scores. He had committed to Arizona in April, but reopened his recruitment on New Year’s Eve. After taking a visit to UCLA this past weekend, Modster announced for the Bruins on Monday afternoon.

The 6-foot-1, 217-pound dual threat is ranked by Scout.com as the fourth-best 2016 quarterback in California, and is UCLA’s second commitment at the position. Three-star prospect Matt Lynch signed a financial aid agreement with the Bruins, and is expected to enroll for spring quarter.

Besides Rosen, the only other quarterback on UCLA’s roster with any experience is former walk-on Mike Fafaul, who has thrown four career passes for 24 yards.

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Jim Mora: UCLA backup QB Jerry Neuheisel is ‘something special’

UCLA quarterback Jerry Neuheisel (11) is heading into his final game as a Bruin, but could stay with the team in a different capacity. (John Valenzuela/Staff)

UCLA quarterback Jerry Neuheisel (11) is heading into his final game as a Bruin, but could stay with the team in a different capacity. (John Valenzuela/Staff)

The Foster Farms Bowl will be the last game for Jerry Neuheisel, ending a UCLA career that he punctuated with one of the most thrilling comebacks in recent Bruin history.

His next step after Saturday, however, remains uncertain. The backup quarterback has made clear his aspirations to become a coach. Head coach Jim Mora hinted last month that the redshirt junior could become a UCLA graduate assistant, but said this week that the two have only engaged in “preliminary discussions.”

He did take the opportunity to laud Neuheisel’s dedication to the Bruins, pointing out that he is closing his career the same way he began it in 2012: as UCLA’s scout team offensive player of the year.

“Jerry’s awesome,” Mora said. “Jerry is something special. He’s one of my favorite people in the world after only knowing him for four years. How can you not love the guy? Continue reading

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UCLA camp notes: Defense stands out in Bruins’ live scrimmage

» UCLA’s live scrimmage on Friday evening was its final practice at Cal State San Bernardino. For anyone planning to come out to the Inland Empire on Saturday, the Bruins will be out at 9:15 a.m. for its “Fan Appreciation” event.

Players will sign autographs, and free food will be available from a Stater Bros. trailer.

» The live scrimmage itself was a bit of a mixed bag. The first-team offense and defense combined as the blue team (coached by Taylor Mazzone), facing off against the rest of the Bruins on the white team (Noel Mazzone). But taking into account injuries and some liberal substitution patterns, it wasn’t exactly an accurate simulation of how the two sides stack up.

As expected, the blue team won convincingly, taking the scrimmage 39-16 thanks to a stable ground game and touchdown passes by both Jerry Neuheisel and Josh Rosen — who switched off possessions behind center. Continue reading

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Jim Mora: I’d like to name UCLA’s starting QB by next weekend

UCLA might be a week or so away from finally naming its starting quarterback.

“I would like to be able to make that decision next weekend at the latest,” head coach Jim Mora said Friday, after the Bruins’ final practice of training camp at Cal State San Bernardino.

The evening session consisted of a live scrimmage in which true freshman Josh Rosen and redshirt junior Jerry Neuheisel switched turns with the first-team offense. Former walk-on Mike Fafaul took most of the second-team reps.

Mora said that the scrimmage is only part of the overall picture, especially since the quarterbacks weren’t taking contact. However, he said the team would ideally need to know the identity of its starter before it starts game week prep for its Sept. 5 opener against Virginia.

“I would love to be able to make that decision, but to be perfectly frank, we’re not prepared to make that decision yet,” Mora said. “We want to make sure when we do make it, it’s the right decision — that we have conviction about it, that we stick with it.”

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UCLA camp notes: Injured players could return to practice Monday

» Defensive end Takkarist McKinley suffered a head injury during Wednesday morning’s practice and has not dressed or been out on the field since. Offensive lineman Tevita Halalilo is also suffering from a concussion, but head coach Jim Mora said the true freshman is now asymptomatic.

Both could return as soon as Monday, when UCLA will resume practices on campus in Westwood.

The same timeline goes for both left tackle Conor McDermott (knee) and center Jake Brendel (calf), both of whom have been dressed for practice but held out of team drills. Mora said McDermott, who underwent an MRI on Tuesday, could have participated today if necessary.

Receiver Tyler Scott appeared to pull his groin during a one-on-one drill.

» The quarterback competition finally seems to be shrinking down to one that includes just true freshman Josh Rosen and returning backup Jerry Neuheisel. Redshirt junior Mike Fafaul has only taken third-team reps for the last couple of practices. Continue reading

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