- Associated Press - Monday, August 27, 2012

STANFORD, CALIF. (AP) - Josh Nunes grew up in the shadows of Southern California’s championships.

He had family and friends with UCLA roots, and no hint of football anywhere in his past.

Just a father who saw Stanford in his future.

Everything about the newly selected starting quarterback can be traced back to a single moment.

Tim Nunes came home one day when Josh was 8 years old, sneaked up from behind and plopped a red hat on his son’s head. Josh looked at the logo, an “S” with a tree in the middle, and smiled.

“He’s like, `Oh, what’s this?’” his father said. “I said, `That’s where you belong. You’re going to go there one day.’”

Never mind that they had no connection to the university.

Something about his son’s smarts steered his father, who has a degree from UCLA, to push aside the Bruins and Trojans hats that day at the Chick’s Sporting Goods near the family’s home in Upland and reach for the Cardinal cap.

Josh “wore the heck of that hat,” he said, even if it often fueled his friends.

He took French classes in high school because he read Stanford’s admissions accepted more students who spoke that than Spanish as a secondary language _ “French came in real handy in Southern California,” he joked.

His first college game was watching Trent Edwards and Stanford lose 21-0 to UCLA at the Rose Bowl on Oct. 30, 2004. He graduated high school with a 4.6 grade-point average, turning down offers from football powers Florida, Oklahoma and Tennessee among others for the Silicon Valley school.

“It just goes to show you,” he said, “that I always wanted to be a Stanford man.”

Now Nunes is THE Stanford man.

The redshirt junior quarterback will make his first collegiate start and begin the post-Andrew Luck era when No. 21 Stanford hosts San Jose State on Friday night.

Walking on campus last week, Nunes already was recognized by students and at least one elderly woman who promised to bring her camera and ask for a photo next time.

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