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ERIC SONDHEIMER / ON HIGH SCHOOLS

Jerry Neuheisel ready for his chance at Loyola

The junior quarterback, and son of the UCLA coach, displays several of the qualities that made his father a successful signal-caller.

June 27, 2009|ERIC SONDHEIMER

There's no mistaking another Neuheisel playing quarterback in Southern California.

With thick blond hair and an instinct to lead, junior quarterback Jerry Neuheisel might provide some balance to blue-chip running back Anthony Barr in Los Angeles Loyola's offense this fall.

Neuheisel arrived from Baltimore last year after his father, Rick, was hired as UCLA's football coach. He helped the Cubs' sophomore team win a Serra League championship, and appears ready to make an impact at the varsity level.

He's 6 feet 1 and has some of the same qualities his father exhibited during his years as a quarterback at UCLA.

"He's got a little bit of the gunslinger attitude that his dad had," Coach Jeff Kearin said.

It hasn't hurt that Neuheisel has grown up with a football always nearby. He travels to UCLA and receives lessons from his father. And he has been looking forward to becoming a varsity quarterback for a long time.

"I'm ready," he said. "I've got to get used to the speed, and you have to get used to scenarios. You have to officially step up your game."

Kearin won a Southern Section title in his rookie season at Loyola in 2005 but since then has been unable to develop consistency at quarterback. Neuheisel can help change that. He had to beat out another junior, Brett Nelson, during spring practice, and he has to perform this summer to keep his job.

But that's Neuheisel's strength -- embracing pressure and expectations. He has a quick release and makes good decisions. His father has told him: "Just be ready and accept the challenge."

Jack Neuheisel, a younger brother who plays linebacker, will be a freshman at Loyola this fall.

Perhaps the most difficult moment for Neuheisel will come just before the start of fall practice on Aug. 15 -- that's when his floppy hair must be shaved to a quarter inch.

"It was painful for him when he came here last year," Kearin recalled.

Another Kareem to watch

With five players in the NBA, Westchester has shown it can produce excellent basketball talent, and it appears that 6-4 senior guard Kareem Jamar can be the Comets' next big-time prospect.

His size, unselfishness, athleticism, three-point shooting skills and ability to play defense make him an appealing player with a bright future. He plays tonight against Gardena Serra at 7:30 p.m. in a semifinal game of the Fairfax tournament.

Top pitcher commits

College baseball coaches are starting to nail down commitments for 2010, and UCLA has picked up a good one in pitcher Zack Weiss from Irvine Northwood. He has a 91-mph fastball and a 4.0 grade-point average.

Transfers galore

Don't bother bringing a basketball roster from last season when attending a summer game.

Transfers seemingly are everywhere, and the private schools are cleaning up.

Los Angeles Price picked up 6-9 senior Richard Solomon from Torrance Bishop Montgomery. He'll join California-bound guard Allen Crabbe and Montana State-bound guard Casey Trujeque, making Price the preseason favorite to win a state Division IV title.

Gardena Serra has added Portland-bound Keith Shamburger, who was the co-Division V player of the year two seasons ago at LaVerne Lutheran. Shamburger transferred to Long Beach Cabrillo but had to sit out last season when he failed to receive a hardship waiver.

Here's a safe prediction: There will be more transfers to come.

Follow me

Finally, I've joined the Twitter world. You can follow my rants and observations at twitter.com/latsondheimer. I promise not to say what I'm having for breakfast, though I did tweet Thursday that Oklahoma City guard Russell Westbrook was eating a hot dog bought from the Fairfax snack stand.

--

eric.sondheimer@latimes.com

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