Sep. 12, 2015

UCLA Bruin Jewish Freshman QB: The Chosen One

By Marc Platt

There are a few definitions to the phrase “The Chosen One.” In science fiction, The Urban Dictionary defines “the "Chosen One" is the sole person chosen by destiny to stop an impending disaster that threatens all life, save the world from a super villain, stop corruption, etc.” In the Jewish Religion “The literal translation of the Hebrew word mashiach (messiah) is "anointed", which refers to a ritual of consecrating someone or something by putting holy oil upon it.”

Reporters are always looking for a good story and/or angle in the press box. Calling Jewish freshman phenomenon quarterback Josh Rosen “The Chosen One” is a no brainer. BUT did you know that the 18-year-old true freshman was the only Jew on an all-Catholic high school?

When Rosen went to St. John Bosco High School in Bellflower (Los Angeles) he went to confession twice a semester, attended team Mass before games, would huddle for post-practice prayer sessions, he journeyed on faith-based retreats and would attend an annual religion class. This was the norm for a Catholic high school student.

Both Josh’s parents were athletes. His spine surgeon father Dr. Charles Rosen was a nationally-ranked ice skater, while his mother Liz is a former journalist and was also a lacrosse player and team captain at Princeton University.

Josh gave up playing competitive tennis (his preferred sport) avoiding surgery for scapula dyskinesis and glenohumeral internal rotation deficit or GIRD. He began playing football in high school and found opportunity at the Catholic high school, despite having been a Bar Mitzvah. His mother comes from a Christian Quaker background.

Rosen was stellar in his first division 1 college effort for the Bruins beating Virginia 34-16 throwing for 351 yards and not taking the credit for his 28-for-35 completions for three touchdowns, a stunning debut for a freshman quarterback “I am a true freshman, but our team is most certainly not,” he pointed out. “Everyone put last year’s UCLA team as a national champion [in the preseason] and after a 10-win season, everyone sort of got off the bandwagon this season. We have the same exact team. I really don’t have to do much to keep this incredibly powerful train on its tracks. I’ve just got to get the ball in our playmakers’ hands and play within the system.”

UCLA head football coach Jim Mora knows what he has on his hands with the young freshman athlete: “People are going to start patting him on the back and telling him how great he is,” he said. “We have to do the best we can to make sure he doesn’t listen to the noise -- keep pushing him, keep demanding a lot out of him and keep supporting him.”

The season is just beginning and it may take a while to know just how big an impact Rosen will have on the football landscape nationally, but it will be fun watching as he competes with better and better competition.