UCLA: T.J. Millweard

Pac-12's 2012 quarterback class dwindling

May, 13, 2014
May 13
5:30
PM PT
When the Class of 2012 was finalized, it appeared the Pac-12 had secured a solid crop of quarterbacks.

Four of the nation's top 12 and six of the top 26 were headed to -- or staying on -- the West Coast. There was a good mix of dual-threat guys and pocket passers -- enough to instill high expectations moving forward. For comparison, the SEC and Big 12 both signed one player from the top 15.

Just over two years later, it's clear the class will never live up to those expectations.

Of the 14 players listed as quarterbacks by ESPN that signed with Pac-12 schools that year, only four are currently on the roster at the school they signed with, listed at quarterback and in good standing with the program. With Monday's news that Oregon's Jake Rodrigues would transfer, the transfer count is up to six. The other four situations are composed of a suspension, a position change, a dismissal and an LDS Church mission.

Here is a look at the Pac-12's quarterbacks from the Class of 2012 and an update on how their careers have progressed:

[+] EnlargeZach Kline
Joshua Weisberg/Icon SMIZach Kline lost out on the starting job at Cal in 2013 to a true freshman and transferred at season's end.
Zach Kline
Ranking: No. 2
School: Cal
Status: Transferred (Butte College)
Comment: Kline redshirted in coach Jeff Tedford's final season behind starter Zach Maynard then lost the competition to replace him to true freshman Jared Goff last year. He appeared in seven of 12 games but made the decision to transfer following the season. Originally it was reported that Kline would attend Oregon State, but instead he announced last month he would attend Butte College -- the same school Aaron Rodgers attended before he went to Cal.

T.J. Millweard
Ranking: No. 5
School: UCLA
Status: Transferred (Kansas)
Comment: After landing at UCLA the year after Brett Hundley, Millweard left Westwood after one redshirt season to head to Kansas. He sat out last season due to NCAA transfer rules but does not appear to be in line for playing time with the Jayhawks. Sophomore Montell Cozart was named the starter following spring practice.

Cyler Miles
Ranking: No. 10
School: Washington
Status: Suspended
Comment: The heir apparent to Keith Price during the 2013 season, it appeared Miles had the potential to become the prize of this class. That still might be the case, but his career remains in a state of flux due to an indefinite suspension following his connection to a post-Super Bowl assault. Coach Chris Petersen told 710 ESPN Seattle a decision won't be made public on Miles' future until August.

Jake Rodrigues
Ranking: No. 12
School: Oregon
Status: Transferring
Comment: Rodrigues' decision on Monday seemingly came out of nowhere after a spring in which multiple reports cast him as a strong candidate to replace Marcus Mariota following next year. But after meeting with coach Mark Helfrich on Monday, as reported by Comcast SportsNet Northwest, he made the decision to move on. It's a safe bet Helfrich didn't say, "Jake, we see you as Marcus' primary backup and expect you to be the starter in 2015," in that meeting. Too early to say where he'll end up.

Jeff Lindquist
Ranking: No. 17
School: Washington
Status: Potential starter
Comment: With Miles' status uncertain, Lindquist moved to the top of the depth chart by default during spring practice. Lindquist and Troy Williams competed as the only two quarterbacks through the spring. He hasn't attempted a pass for the Huskies, but had two carries for 10 yards in 2013.

Javelle Allen
Ranking: No. 26
School: Arizona
Status: Dismissed from team
Comment: Allen served as B.J. Denker's primary backup in 2013, but he was dimissed from the team before the Wildcats played in the AdvoCare V100 Bowl for violating team policies. He appeared in five games but attempted just one pass. It's unclear where his career will go from here.

[+] EnlargeTravis Wilson
AP Photo/Rick BowmerTravis Wilson so far has been the best Pac-12 QB from the 2012 signing class.
Travis Wilson
Ranking: No. 39
School: Utah
Status: Starter
Comment: The unquestioned success story (so far) from this class, Wilson is the only starter among the group. He started seven games as a true freshman and the Utes' first nines games in 2013 before a scary head injury cost him the rest of the season. The injury was serious enough that his career was in jeopardy, but it was announced in February that he would return. Wilson has thrown for 3,138 yards and 23 touchdowns.

Chase Hansen
Ranking: No. 43
School: Utah
Status: LDS mission
Comment: Hansen spent the 2012 season with the Utes, but he put his college football career on hold to depart on his LDS Church mission. He is expected to return to the team for the 2015 season.

Josh Kern
Ranking: No. 44
School: Arizona
Status: Converted to tight end
Comment: After redshirting in 2012, he converted to tight end and played in nine games last season -- mostly on special teams -- without recording a catch.

Shane Dillon
Ranking: No. 51
School: Colorado
Status: Transferred to play basketball (Cuyamaca JC)
Comment: Dillon left the school in July 2013 to pursue college basketball. He initially announced on Twitter he would play basketball at San Diego in the WCC, but that fell through and he landed at Cuyamaca Junior College in San Diego. In 27 games in the 2013-14 season, he averaged 11.9 points and 6.1 rebounds per game.

Wayne Capers
Ranking: No. 78
School: Arizona
Status: Transferred (Western Pennsylvania)
Comment: Although listed as a quarterback during the recruiting process by ESPN, Capers played defensive back for the Wildcats. He appeared in 11 games as a true freshman, but injuries limited him in 2013 before he left the program in November.

Jeff Lockie
Ranking:
No. 105
School:
Oregon
Status: No. 2 on depth chart
Comment: With Rodrigues' transfer, Lockie is in position to serve as Mariota's backup in 2014 -- which should allow for plenty of playing time -- and give him a leg up on becoming the starter in 2015. He completed 8 of 13 passes for 57 yards last year without a touchdown and one interception. At Monte Vista High in Danville, Calif., Lockie was crosstown rivals with Kline (San Ramon Valley High).

Austin Apodaca
Ranking: No. 111
School: Washington State
Status: Transferred (Mesa CC)
Comment: The writing was on the wall for Apodaca even though he was the Cougars' No. 2 quarterback in 2013. He didn't project to ever become the starter in Pullman and decided to transfer in February.

Brent VanderVeen
Ranking: No. 144
School: Oregon State
Status: Competing for backup job
Comment: VanderVeen redshirted in 2012, and sat at No. 3 on the depth chart in 2013 without throwing a pass. He's currently competing for the backup job with Kyle Kempt and Alabama transfer Luke Del Rio.

Note: Arizona State, Stanford and USC did not sign quarterbacks that year.

Spring position breakdown: QBs

February, 24, 2014
Feb 24
4:00
PM PT
Spring has sprung in the Pac-12, with Stanford starting spring practices this week and several schools following suit next week.

Ergo, we break down where teams stand with each position group, starting with quarterbacks.

Arizona: The Wildcats probably have the most wide-open QB competition, with four guys having a legitimate chance to replace the departed B.J. Denker. Three are transfers from big-time programs: senior Jesse Scroggins (USC), sophomore Connor Brewer (Texas) and junior Jerrard Randall (LSU). The fourth, redshirt freshman Anu Solomon, was one of the biggest stars in the 2013 recruiting class. Don't expect much to be settled by the end of spring, though coach Rich Rodriguez might at least allude to some sort of pecking order. Or a top three.

Arizona State: The Sun Devils are strong at QB with senior Taylor Kelly, a third-year starter who has put up big numbers the past two seasons, and junior Mike Bercovici, a big-armed backup -- perhaps, in fact, the best backup in the Pac-12. That's why Michael Eubank opted to transfer to Samford in Birmingham, Ala. It will be interesting to see which of the youngsters on the roster emerge as a No.3, a guy who might challenge Bercovici in 2015.

California: It seems unlikely that sophomore Jared Goff will be unseated, particularly after Zach Kline opted to transfer. Goff was uneven last season -- his entire team was -- but flashed plenty of potential. He and a talented crew of receivers should get better this spring. The big question might be whether anyone challenges senior Austin Hinder for the backup job.

Colorado: Sophomore Sefo Liufau is solid as the returning starter. He took some lumps last season but also flashed plenty of promise -- as both a player and leader. After him, there's junior college transfer Jordan Gehrke, a redshirt sophomore, the likely backup. Depth is a problem, at least this spring. As the Boulder Daily Camera noted, "Five quarterbacks have left the CU program either to transfer to other schools or give up the sport entirely since the start of spring football last year. A sixth completed his eligibility last season." That's why the Buffs added walk-on Trent Sessions to the roster. He worked with the equipment staff last year.

Oregon: The Ducks probably feel pretty good about their third-year starter, junior Marcus Mariota, a leading 2014 Heisman Trophy candidate who would have been a first-round pick if he'd entered the 2014 NFL draft. The competition for the backup spot, however, will be interesting because Mariota is almost certain to enter the NFL draft after the season. Sophomores Jeff Lockie and Jake Rodrigues are 2A and 2B, with Lockie first off the bench as the backup in 2013, but Rodrigues the more physically talented player as a runner and passer.

Oregon State: Like their friends to the north, Oregon State is fortunate its 2013 starter, Sean Mannion, decided to return instead of entering the NFL draft. Mannion's chief focus will be finding some receivers to replace the production of the departed Brandin Cooks. The battle for the backup job also will be interesting between sophomore Brent VanderVeen and redshirt freshman Kyle Kempt. Of course, their battle might not resolve things much for 2015, with incoming Alabama transfer Luke Del Rio joining the fray after sitting out a season.

Stanford: It seems unlikely that two-year starter Kevin Hogan will be challenged for the starting job this spring, even though he had some ups and downs in 2013, but there is no lack of talent battling for the backup job. Junior Evan Crower was the backup in 2013, but redshirt freshman Ryan Burns is a big-time talent. As is incoming freshman Keller Chryst, who officially will arrive in the fall but, as a Palo Alto resident, figures to hang around spring practices.

UCLA: Heading into his third season running the offense, Brett Hundley gives the Bruins one of the best starting quarterbacks in the nation. He's a proven dual threat and leader who will be refining his game this spring and building chemistry with his receivers. After him, however, things are a bit iffy, in large part because of the 2013 preseason transfer of T.J. Millweard to Kansas. The chief competitors for the backup job are Jerry Neuheisel, the 2013 backup, and redshirt freshman Asiantii Woulard, with Woulard being the guy with the most future upside. Of course, there is another QB out there some UCLA fans might be thinking about.

USC: The returning starter facing the most formidable challenge to his starting job this spring is probably Cody Kessler, even though Kessler played well in the second half of the 2013 season. With the transfer of Max Wittek, touted redshirt freshman Max Browne, at the very least, sets up to be a high-quality backup next season. But plenty of folks think Browne has a legitimate shot to unseat Kessler, particularly with new coach Steve Sarkisian taking over.

Utah: There's still no final word on the long-term health issue that might end QB Travis Wilson's career, though you'd think something would be announced before the Utes begin spring practices on March 18. If Wilson gets cleared, the good bet is on him returning to the starting job. If not, a spring competition will begin between Adam Schulz, who stepped in when Wilson went down, and redshirt freshmen Conner Manning and Brandon Cox. In the fall, dual-threat QB Donovan Isom arrives.

Washington: Keith Price, a three-year starter, is gone, but the Huskies seemed fairly set at QB with sophomore backup Cyler Miles appearing plenty capable of stepping into the cockpit this spring. In limited action last season, Miles completed 61 percent of his throws for 418 yards with four TDs and two picks, and he also showed good mobility, rushing for 200 yards. The pecking order at least seemed set, that is, until Miles got into some off-field trouble that threatens his status for spring practice and perhaps beyond. If Miles is still suspended, that means opportunity comes knocking for sophomore Jeff Lindquist or redshirt freshman Troy Williams to make an impression.

Washington State: Connor Halliday will be a senior, three-year starter and the Cougars' top leader in the third season running Mike Leach's "Air Raid" offense. He figures to put up huge numbers this fall with a strong crew of receivers. His 2013 backup, sophomore Austin Apodaca, opted to transfer, perhaps believing that redshirt freshman Tyler Bruggman had the inside track to the starting job in 2015. Depth is a bit of a question, with the No. 3 this fall likely being true freshman Peyton Bender.

UCLA preseason preview: Quarterbacks

July, 26, 2012
7/26/12
12:45
PM PT

Jason O. Watson/US Preswire
Brett Hundley was one of the top quarterback recruits in the nation two years ago.

With UCLA training camp set to begin Aug. 4 at Cal State San Bernardino, it's time to take a preseason look at the roster and break down the Bruins position by position.

We start with the position of greatest interest: Quarterbacks.

DEPTH CHART AT THE END OF SPRING PRACTICE:

None. The post-spring depth chart was listed in alphabetical order because the coaching staff had not decided on a quarterback.

PROJECTED DEPTH CHART ON OPENING DAY:

Brett Hundley (Fr., 6-3, 223)
Richard Brehaut (Sr., 6-2, 230) OR
Kevin Prince (Sr., 6-2, 225)
Jerry Neuheisel (Fr., 6-1, 195)
Devin Fuller (Fr., 6-0, 195)
Mike Fafaul (Fr., 6-2, 200)
T.J. Millweard (Fr., 6-3, 220)

2011 STARTER
Prince (10 games) 126-224 (56.2 percent), 1,828 yards, 12 TDs, 8 INTs
Brehaut (4 games) 67-121 (55.4 percent), 948 yards, 6 TDs, 1 INT

THE SKINNY:

The UCLA quarterback situation has been unsettled for the better part of the last decade, and this year is no different.

UCLA quarterbacks combined to complete a mere 55.78 percent of their passes last season and a paltry 50.9 the year before. Those figures ranked No. 93 and No. 115 in the nation and will have to improve to make UCLA a more potent offense.

Prince is the incumbent who can't seem to stay healthy. Brehaut is the backup whose light finally seemed to turn on last season. Hundley is the redshirt freshman who was one of the top quarterback recruits in the nation two years ago. Those three battled throughout the spring, but none emerged with the job.

Coach Jim Mora and offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone have set a deadline of Aug. 16 to name a starter, though the announcement could come earlier, Mora said, if it becomes clear who the guy would be. They are putting in a new, uptempo spread offense that will look far different than the Pistol of the past two seasons and want to be sure they pick the right guy to run it.

Mora, asked this week where he stood in the decision-making process said "I have a feeling, but still need to be convinced." He also talked about trying to project players and how a guy with upside will eventually pass a guy who is playing at a steady level. Put two and two together and it was a thinly veiled suggestion that Hundley is the leader and as long as he doesn't fall on his face the first two weeks of camp, the freshman will win the job.

(Read full post)

No favorite emerging in QB competition

April, 21, 2012
4/21/12
11:54
PM PT
LOS ANGELES -- The quarterback competition continues to rage in UCLA's spring practice as none of the contenders has yet to distinguish himself as the leading candidate and that can mean one of two things.

The optimist will say it's because each of the leading contenders has played at the same high level; the cynic would argue that they have all been equally mediocre.

Coach Jim Mora and offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone have made it known that they would like to have a quarterback emerge from the pack at some point this spring, but with nine of the 15 sessions in the books Kevin Prince, Richard Brehaut and Brett Hundley are still neck-and-neck for the lead with Jerry Neuheisel still clinging to a spot in the race.

"I feel a little bit different every day," Mora said when asked if anyone has emerged through the first three weeks of camp. "So me giving you that answer is really saying no. I really still feel like over the course of the next six practices we’ll start to see some separation."

Judging by rep counts, there has been some separation over the last week. The spring began with six quarterbacks equally sharing the repetitions, but incoming freshman T.J. Millweard and walk-on Mike Fafaul have had their reps decrease over the past three or four sessions as Prince, Brehaut and Hundley have dominated the playing time.

Mazzone, asked about 14 different ways how the competition was unfolding in his mind, gave a similar non-answer about 14 different times.

"Right now, you've got a couple of old guys in Brehaut and K.P. who have been around the block a couple of times so they should be a little bit ahead of the other guys because they’ve played more," Mazzone said. "We’ve got some young talented kids that are kind of growing up."

(Read full post)

Six-man QB competition will take time

April, 5, 2012
4/05/12
9:19
PM PT
LOS ANGELES -- Quarterback competitions are the annual rites of spring around UCLA, so it's no surprise to find the Bruins beginning another spring football camp without a clear-cut frontrunner for the most important position on the field.

And coach Jim Mora is making it clear he won't be rushing into a decision.

Mora and new offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone are making it a true open competition, giving six quarterbacks an equal number of reps through the first two days and if there were more quarterbacks in camp, they'd be getting reps, too.

"If you had any eligibility left, I'd give you a shot," Mazzone said to a reporter.

The goal is clear: The coaches want to see every quarterback in as many situations as possible before making any kind of a decision. They are looking for leadership, command of the offense and decision-making ability as much as accuracy and arm strength and they intend to give each quarterback the opportunity to show all of those things.

"We put guys in situations where you can evaluate them and if we get down the line a couple of days and we haven’t seen a player in a certain position where we can make an evaluation then we have to create that situation for him," Mora said. "That’s what we’ll try to do with reps with the quarterback."

There is no official depth chart, but if there were it would appear Kevin Prince is No. 1 right now followed by Brett Hundley, Richard Brehaut, Jerry Neuheisel, walk-on Mike Fafaul and incoming freshman T.J. Millweard, based on performance and order of repetitions over the first two days.

But Mazzone said it would be inaccurate to read anything into the order and number of reps at this point in in the process.

"I grabbed [Prince] and threw him in there first because he was our starting quarterback, but it’s a wide-open deal," Mazzone said. "After that, I just kind of turned around. They learned real quick that I turn around and the guy I see first I put in next. So they’re all right there behind me."

The need-it-now mentality in the information age lends itself to a fanbase that wants immediate answers to the UCLA quarterback question, but Mora has no idea and he made it clear he isn't going to make his evaluations public on a regular basis. He never has seen any of these quarterbacks play live before this week and would like to build a database of information before he even starts to try and make any kind of decisions.

"The one thing I don’t think is going to be appropriate for me to do is to come off the field and evaluate the quarterbacks on a daily basis with the media," Mora said. "I think that what’s important is that we just let it happen. We need to be patient, but we need to be patient at the same time. I’m not going to come off the field every day saying oh it’s this guy, it’s that guy. I’ll just let it develop naturally."

(Read full post)

Neuheisel hopes he can impress Mora

April, 4, 2012
4/04/12
5:17
PM PT
LOS ANGELES -- Jerry Neuheisel looks, walks and talks so much like his father that if it wasn't for his uniform, you might think Rick Neuheisel is still coaching at UCLA when you see him on the practice field.

Jerry had his teammates in awe when he did an impression of his father during a talent show last fall and he arrived at the UCLA spring camp opener Tuesday looking to do another impression of dear old dad, who rose from walk-on to starter and Rose Bowl MVP during his playing days with the Bruins.

So just because Rick was fired as coach of the Bruins last November and replaced by Jim Mora, that doesn't mean the Neuheisel era is completely over at UCLA. Neuheisel has every intention of trying to catch Mora's eye with his play and working his way up the quarterback depth chart.

"I definitely consider myself to be a part of the competition," Jerry Neuheisel said. "If you didn’t, you wouldn’t want to be a part of Division I football. You always want to be the guy who is leading the team out of the tunnel and winning the games and so for me that’s my goal and I’m not looking for anything less."

Neuheisel signed with the Bruins out of Loyola High in 2011 when his father was still coaching but did not enroll at UCLA until after last season -- a process known as "grey shirting" used to extend the eligibility of players.

He sat out the second half of his senior year in high school after suffering a concussion, so it had been about a year and a half since he last participated in a football practice and he said it was a bit of an emotional disappointment to walk through the gates of Spaulding Field and not see his dad out there for his return to the field.

"I’d be lying to you if I said it wasn’t," Neuheisel said. "It was always my dream to play for him, but he’d tell me I would be foolish not to keep going after my dream of being the UCLA quarterback just because he’s not here. That’s always been the goal for me and I know he’s out there rooting me on. And I know he wishes he could be coaching me, but I also know he’ll be our No. 1 fan."

That Neuheisel is still with the Bruins is a surprise to some. Many figured that Jerry got a scholarship onlly because Rick was coach and that after his father left, Jerry would soon follow him out the door. Jerry said he never even entertained that idea, despite the potential awkwardness of playing under another coach.

"As much as people don't believe me when I say this, I didn’t come here to play for my dad," he said. "I came here to be a UCLA Bruin. Even when he left, the thought never crossed my mind. I want to go to school here and I want to be the quarterback here."

(Read full post)

UCLA again enters spring looking for a QB

March, 28, 2012
3/28/12
4:56
PM PT
UCLA (QB Warm Up)Stephen Dunn/Getty ImagesKevin Prince, left, and Richard Brehaut (12) will enter spring practice as the frontrunners at QB.

The only thing UCLA coach Jim Mora knows about who his starting quarterback will be next season is that he will have one.

And only one.

There will be no quarterback controversy for the Bruins next fall, Mora said, because he will name a starter before the first game and plans to stick with that player. The key for spring is to identify who that player will be.

"I think we have to be patient," Mora said. "We have to really be analytical. We have to make sure we make the right decision because I think you do the team and the players a real disservice if you’re flip-flopping all the time. Once you make a decision, I think you’ve got to go with it. You’ve got to ride that decision."

The UCLA quarterback spot has been an Achilles heel for the Bruins over the past decade as injuries and unsettled play have hampered the ability find a clear-cut No. 1 starter. The result has been an offense that has struggled to find consistency.

Last season was no different as Kevin Prince and Richard Brehaut split the starting job to mixed results. Both return for the Bruins and will enter spring practice as the frontrunners for the role, but by no means are they shoo-ins to win the job.

Brett Hundley, who spent last season redshirting after coming to UCLA with great fanfare, should pose a significant challenge. So, too, will incoming freshman T.J. Millweard, the No. 5 high school quarterback in the nation last year who is enrolling at UCLA for the spring quarter so that he can compete for the job when spring practice opens April 3.

Mora said Prince will get the first reps with the first string, but only because "you have to start with somebody" and added that the job is anybody's to win in what figures to be a very heated competition throughout the spring.

"You hope that it becomes very apparent," Mora said. "There will be constant communication about every position daily. We go in there every day and evaluate every practice and evaluate every player in every practice. That’s what we do. We’re film junkies. We go up and watch the film and evaluate everything. And at some point, you’re hopeful that at that position especially it just jumps out at you: That’s our guy."

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