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 Matt Leinart returns to USC 
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Post Matt Leinart returns to USC
What a moron.

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LOS ANGELES - Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Matt Leinart has decided to play his senior season at USC and try to lead the Trojans to an unprecedented third straight national championship.

"I realized the opportunity right now to support my family by going to the NFL early, but to me I think college football and this whole atmosphere here and being with my friends and my teammates ... is ultimately more satisfying and will make me happier than any amount of money could make someone happy," Leinart said.

Leinart announced his decision Friday, opting to complete his eligibility rather than enter the NFL draft, where he figured to be one of the top selections and become an instant millionaire.

There was a roar of approval from a crowd of about 500 students and fans jammed into the foyer at Heritage Hall to hear the quarterback's decision.

"I'm smiling," a beaming coach Pete Carroll said after Leinart's announcement.

Leinart has made clear for months his desire to stay in school. He said last August he would definitely return because he loved playing for the Trojans, he needed to get stronger physically and make other improvements.

More recently, he said he was leaning toward returning, but would investigate his options.

In the end, Leinart decided the risk of serious injury or a sub-par performance next season was less important than following his heart and enjoying college for another year.

Leinart consulted coaches, friends, teammates, NFL quarterbacks Carson Palmer and Ben Roethlisberger and his parents before announcing his decision.

A 6-foot-5, 225-pound left-hander, Leinart was a third-year sophomore who hadn't thrown a pass for the Trojans when he succeeded Palmer, another Heisman Trophy winner, as USC's quarterback 16 1/2 months ago.

The Trojans have a 25-1 record with Leinart at the controls - including 13-0 this season. He capped the year by passing for 332 yards and an Orange Bowl-record five touchdowns in USC's resounding 55-19 victory over Oklahoma on Jan. 4.

Leinart's 6,878 career passing yards rank fourth on USC's all-time list, and his 71 TD passes rank second - one behind Palmer.

All that in just 26 games.

By staying in school, Palmer could become the second player ever to win the Heisman twice. Ohio State running back Archie Griffin accomplished the feat in 1974-75.

USC's only loss in the last two seasons was a 34-31 triple overtime setback at California on Sept. 27, 2003, in Leinart's fourth game as the Trojans' quarterback.

He overcame a shaky start to go 21-of-39 for 277 yards, but was intercepted three times. He has thrown only 12 other interceptions at USC.

Leinart, 21, passed for 3,556 yards and 38 touchdowns with nine interceptions in his first season as the starter, no doubt helped by the presence of talented and experienced wide receivers Mike Williams and Keary Colbert.

As a fourth-year junior this season, throwing to a corps of young, inexperienced wideouts, Leinart passed for 3,322 yards and 33 TDs with six interceptions.

Leinart's return means John David Booty, a former Louisiana prep standout who will be a third-year sophomore next season, will have to wait at least another year to start unless Leinart is injured or he decides to go elsewhere.

Booty is considered a better prospect now than Leinart was when he took over.

The Trojans will have two other highly regarded quarterbacks on the roster next fall in Rocky Hinds, a freshman who redshirted this season, and Mark Sanchez, who will be a freshman. Sanchez, a senior at Mission Viejo, Calif., High who has committed to USC, is considered one of the best prep quarterbacks in the country.

Without Leinart, USC figured to enter next season as the one of the country's highest-ranked teams, if not No. 1, since the majority of its starters this season were underclassmen. With Leinart, it's a virtual certainty the Trojans will be No. 1.

USC will bring a 22-game winning streak into next season - longest in the country.


January 14th, 2005, 6:59 pm
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wow!!!!!!
:shock: :shock: :shock:
I just pray for his sake that he doesn't get injuried. He obvioulsy loves college ball. How will this affect the draft, if it all?

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January 14th, 2005, 7:02 pm
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Well, now there are numerous possibilities for the #1 overall pick, not just Leinart. Aaron Rodgers, Cedric Benson, Antrel Rolle, Derrick Johnson, Mike Williams, Braylon Edwards, and Alex Smith could all concievably go 1st overall. It opens up the draft much more, and there is no sure #1 pick, like there was with Leinart.


January 14th, 2005, 7:05 pm
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This is just an amateur assessment, but does that mean more chances for us to trade down? With one less playmaker in the draft, more teams will be scrambling to get the player that they want. It seems that there are only 2 good qbs, so teams will have to do a lot of dealing. Am I right? Is this good news for us?

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January 14th, 2005, 7:13 pm
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Post Re: Matt Leinart returns to USC
Brian wrote:
What a moron.


It's OK Brian, I'd be calling him a moron to if he declared the day after I released my mock draft and he was my number one pick. :lol:

There is going have to be significant changes at just about every mock draft I have looked at. What a shock! :shock:

Then again, this guy can claim his spot as the top NCAA player of ALL-TIME with two Heismans (done only once) and three straight National Championships (never been done).

WOW - Leinart can cement his place in football history, even if he turns out to be a flop in the NFL. To me, it is kind of refreshing to see a guy having fun and not grab every dollar he can.

I have it from a good source and USC alum (and super rich) that after the Orange Bowl, he meet with Carlson Palmer (Bengals) and Keary Colbert (rookie - Panthers - you know who I'm talking about Brian) who both told him he should stay at USC for another year.

BTW - I'm already calling my next National Champion - USC! :arrow:


January 14th, 2005, 8:38 pm
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bsand2053 wrote:
This is just an amateur assessment, but does that mean more chances for us to trade down? With one less playmaker in the draft, more teams will be scrambling to get the player that they want. It seems that there are only 2 good qbs, so teams will have to do a lot of dealing. Am I right? Is this good news for us?


Well, I think to an extent you are right. For example, we are picking ahead of Dallas, who could select Alex Smith of Utah, the only other sure first round QB at this point. If a team needs a QB, and wants to move ahead of Dallas to get Smith, we could trade down.

So to answer your question directly, yes, it does.


January 15th, 2005, 11:10 pm
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