PHOENIX — Kansas State apparently won’t face the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft for a second straight season, after all.
Sports Illustrated and other media outlets reported Saturday night that standout UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen will skip Tuesday’s Cactus Bowl game against K-State under doctor’s orders.
Rosen, considered a potential top pick in the 2018 draft by numerous NFL pundits, suffered a concussion on Nov. 24 against Cal. He hadn’t been cleared for contact as of Saturday afternoon when he appeared at the Cactus Bowl’s media day event.
“No, not yet,” Rosen said. “I think I’m in the final stages (of concussion protocol) so that’s a question for the team doctors. It’s day by day.
“I’ve had a little while to be frustrated so I’ve kind of accepted that it’s not in my control. It took some time to get over it, but I’m kind of at peace with it now that if they give me the green light I’m full steam ahead and I’m preparing as if I am. I want to be out there because I love these guys, but we’ll see.”
Just a few short hours later, Rosen’s light reportedly had turned red.
Rosen is only a junior but is widely expected to enter this year’s draft. He hasn’t publicly announced his intentions, though, and on Saturday said his draft stock wouldn’t factor into his decision as to whether to take the field against K-State. He said he wanted to play.
“Absolutely, I’m here,” he said. “If I wanted to leave, I’d be gone.”
The Wildcats successfully battled Texas A&M defensive end Myles Garrett a year ago in the Texas Bowl before Garrett was selected No. 1 overall by the Cleveland Browns. They were preparing for another high-profile meeting with Rosen, who completed 283 of 452 passes for 3,756 yards with 26 touchdowns and 10 interceptions this season for the Bruins (6-6).
Instead, they now will face redshirt freshman Devon Modster, who completed 30 of 45 passes for 376 yards and two touchdowns in four games. Modster was 14-for-18 passing for 191 yards against Cal in relief of Rosen.
He also directed a game-winning drive to the Cal 20-yard line, setting up JJ Molson’s 37-yard field goal with only four seconds remaining in the Bruins’ 30-27 home victory.
“The offense wouldn’t change,” Bruins center Scott Quessenberry said Saturday when asked about Modster and Rosen. “Whoever is in at quarterback, we know he can make all the throws.”
Interim UCLA coach Jedd Fisch said both Modster and Rosen worked with the Bruins’ first-team unit in recent practices.
“Whichever guy goes, we will be ready,” Fisch said.