Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Remember Me? (My Name Is Mitch and I Used to Be a Big Deal)

Imagine being Mitch Mustain. Back in 2005, you were the No. 1 recruit in the country, winner of every national player of the year award, Parade All-American, headed to Arkansas where your HS coach is gonna be the offensive coordinator. Gift-wrapped success for one of the most celebrated Golden Boys in recent memory.

Heck, your accolades make Matt Barkley look like an amateur. His senior year saw him earn no awards and no division title (cynics, however, fail to see he had a new crop of WR's but I digress)

Oh and to make it better, you go 8-0 as a true freshman handing off to two of the best tailbacks in the country. You still the man to fans who dubbed you the Great hope of Arkansas - biggest celebrity since President Clinton.

So how did you end up a third-stringer at USC as a 4th-year junior? The forgotten man behind California Golden Boys Barkley and Aaron Corp and subject of a great piece by Fox Sports' Mark Kreigel

I feel bad for this guy to be honest. I remember watching that freshman year and thinking he'd be a star down there. It should've been him and Tim Tebow running the SEC. Now he needs his face on the milk carton.

In Kreigel's piece, he talks about trying to make the NFL like Matt Cassel - no starts at USC and now $66 million richer. But it's definitely not the ideal plan for the draft we all thought 4 years ago - he'd be challenging Tebow for SEC Player of the Year right now or maybe starting his rookie year in the league.

You gotta feel bad for this guy - from everybody knowing you to everybody wondering how he got lost in the shuffle. But sadly, that's part of the risk you take going to a major program surrounded by All-Americans. You're one of a bunch, not one in a million.

It's the downside of USC - they run a fantastic program out here and have a great track record for NFL paydirt. But if recruit every All-American to come to you, where are you gonna find enough playing time to satisfy all of them. Look at tailback where there should be a 2-headed monster (Stafon Johnson/Joe McKnight), you got CJ Gable, Allen Bradford and RS sophomore Marc Tyler.

I predicted before the year that some major c/o 2010 recruit in CA would spurn USC because of the overload of talent and I still may be right. But I guarantee the story of Mitch Mustain and others are tales that need to be considered.

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