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Booty and the Heisman

Pete Fiutak answers the question Is Booty Heisman worthy?

Does John David Booty really deserve to be atop the Heisman list? I mean I haven't seen him do anything yet that Matt Leinart, Vince Young, Troy Smith and Brady Quinn (who I think was harshly underrated) did. Don't get me wrong I'm not trying to bash him, he's a really good QB (Anybody is a good QB to start at USC). But he did have two really good wide receivers to throw to. I just haven't seen that WOW factor out of him that those others had. Is it possible that it's just the USC jersey he is wearing that is swaying people? - Paul

A: Salute the rank, not the man. If you're named the starting quarterback on the nation's number one team, you're a Heisman frontrunner by default. No matter what your talent-level, if you put up big numbers and your team wins (cough, Jason White, cough), you have an honest shot to win the award. No, Booty hasn't become the be-all-end-all star he was supposed to be when he skipped his senior year of high school and was supposed to take over for Carson Palmer, but he'll get his chance. The key to Booty this year, and his chance to win the Heisman, will be if the voters look past his lack of big stats. With the D the Trojans have, Booty won't have to throw for 375 yards a game to win. He'll have to limit his mistakes, make the right reads, keep the chains moving, and win the big games against teams like Nebraska and California. However, the problem will be the stats. How do you vote for Booty and his game management skills if Colt Brennan throws for a bazillion yards and leads Hawaii to a 12-0 season?

I think he is worthy of consideration, no question. I am more concerned that there could be a backlash against all things USC as the MSM hype machine starts picking up steam. Booty is going to have to really come out of the gates hot and stay hot in order to keep the skeptics quiet. There is no reason why he can't at least be competitive for the award.

There is another question into whether or not USC should be considered a Football Dynasty. I'll let you decide.

DeRozan making a statement

HoopsReport.com and Rivals both have articles on Demar DeRozan on his standout work at the Lebron James Skills Academy

From Hoops Report.com:

Demar DeRozan 6'6/207 SF Compton (CA) High USC- DeRozan might have locked up top honors in camp after his lights-out performance on Sunday. Going against Sylven Landesberg (a top 30 player in his own right), DeRozan took over by hitting numerous 3-point shots and trying to cram on every player that challenged him at the rim. There might not be another player in the country that has the makings to be a prolific scorer at the next level like DeRozan does. Not to be overshadowed by DeRozan's performance, Landesberg didn't back down from DeRozan's challenge and scored his fair share of points as well, while hitting a high percentage of shots.

From Rivals:

Rivals.com caught both sessions of game on Sunday at the LeBron James US Skills Academy. Within a strong line up of 80 some players, several prospects stood out with their play, but none were more impressive than Demar DeRozan.

Playing every bit like the No. 4 ranked prospect in the Rivals150, DeRozan put up big scoring numbers in both sessions. He was dialed in from deep with his fade away jumper off the dribble, but he also finished off a number of physical drives to the basket. And in between he utilized his athleticism with some aggressive work on the offensive boards.

DeRozan is a top flight shooting guard prospect.
With DeRozan firmly establishing himself as the top shooting guard prospect over the long haul

Looks like SC has themselves quite a player. He has also reaffirmed that he is a "solid verbal" commit. I will be happy when he signs on the dotted line.

Cassell setting a strong example

The Daily News has a great article on former USC QB Matt Cassel giving back to the community.

The former USC and current New England Patriots quarterback returned to his alma mater and talked to a group of about 90 disadvantaged middle-school students participating in the month-long program that combines academics with football practice.

"It's always fun to come back and give back to the community and especially help out kids," said Cassel, who is from Northridge and still spends the off-season in the Los Angeles area.

The Chatsworth High alum talked to the kids about the importance of working hard both on the field and in the classroom before answering questions from the audience.

Cassel spoke to the boys about overcoming obstacles, something with which he is well-acquainted. After starring at Chatsworth, the 6-foot-4 quarterback earned a scholarship to USC. But his Trojans career did not go as planned, as he never started a game. Instead, he served as a backup to Heisman Trophy winners Carson Palmer and Matt Leinart and even spent some time at tight end.

Matt always handled his situation with grace. Being the backup is never easy but he will have a solid career in the NFL. I have no doubt that he will get his chance. This is a class guy who understands about giving back to the community. While others harp on the issue of character Cassel backs it up with his actions.

Mustain in demand

Both the LAT and the DN have interviews/articles on Mitch Mustain.

From Dwyer in the LAT:

The new guy in town walks the campus at USC in peace and quiet these days, just another student in shorts and backpack.

At least for the moment, solitude appeals to Mitch Mustain. He is far from the madding crowd of Fayetteville, Ark., far from the scrutiny and speculation, the whispers and blogs that eventually contributed to his seeking refuge in the serenity of Hollywood.

"It's big here," Mustain says. "You can kind of go your own way."

Mustain was a quarterback at the University of Arkansas last season. The school is in Fayetteville, population 58,000, or about a third the size of Pomona.

Mustain wasn't just any quarterback. He was the homegrown sensation, the local boy who would make good and take the local university along with him. He had led Springdale High, in a city of similar size right next to Fayetteville, to a 14-0 record and the state championship his senior season in 2005.

I'm really sold on this kid. I'm not prepared to hand him the starting job but you have to admit that his record is pretty impressive as a freshman, especially in the tough SEC.

From Wolf at the DN. part 1:

Q: Do you know the offense or is it a good thing you are sitting out this season?

A: It takes time to pick it up. You don't just come in and pick it up in no time. It's good for me to redshirt. It's something I definitely need. I'm looking forward to playing on the scout team.

Q: How different are things here compared to Arkansas?

A: Everything is different. The lifestyle is different than what I'm used to. But I like it here. I was looking for a whole different deal than the first time I chose a college. I was looking for a change.

Q: When did you know you were coming to USC?

A: I looked at here and Tulsa after I left Arkansas. I really knew in April I wanted to come here.

Q: Why did you transfer?

A: I sat down and looked at what was going on there. Staying there wasn't the best for me. Once I was leaving, for the most part I got encouraging stuff at Arkansas and never heard one negative thing from anyone.

Part 2

Q: People talk about you or Mark Sanchez transferring if you lose the starting job competition next spring or summer. Isn't there a chance one of you will get injured or maybe benched no matter who wins the job?
A: It's very realistic. We both realize it.

Q: Are you still going through a transition with the transfer?
A: I feel comfortable. I went through the surprise part and the skeptical and not really sure part and now I'm comfortable.

Q: How much did USC's quarterback tradition influence your decision?
A: A lot. I had a chance to talk to John David. They've been consistent and solid in what they've done.

Q: Do you have any regrets about going to Arkansas?
A: I don't regret it at all.

I think he is going to be just fine.