THE PATH TAKEN
By Danny Reagan / Abilene, Texas
You know how football is a matter of inches sometimes?
One inch more here or one less inch there and seasons can be successful or wind up in the dumpster.
That's kinda like being in the right place at the right time ... especially in sports. Seize the opportunity no matter how it presents itself to you.
A couple of years ago we announced to the world in his "hometown" newspaper that Colt McCoy would be attending the University of Texas. I say "world," but only fans in West Texas really paid much attention at the time.
"Colt, who?" and "Tuscola, where?" were common reactions out in the rest of the world. That world was more interested in if Vince Young would live up to his potential.
A few months later in 2004, prep quarterbacks Mark Sanchez (left) of California and Ryan Perrilloux of Louisiana announced they would also sign with UT. Everyone had heard of them, and the world outside of West Texas definitely took notice.
On a personal sidenote (remember, I'm a Red Raiders fan, too), a year after that Greg McElroy of Southlake Carroll announced he was going to Texas Tech.
Back to our narrative of remarkable life trails, ironies and coincidences - only flash forward to today.
You know Colt's story (if not, you're definitely on the wrong website). And, of course, Young did live up to his potential.
But what about the others?
Before signing day in 2005, Sanchez and Perrilloux had changed their minds about where they were going, even after "strong" verbal commitments.
Sanchez, who decided to stay "home" at USC, also competed this season for the starting job as a red-shirt freshman, but he's only thrown 6 passes in 3 games. John David Booty is leading the Trojans to the promised BSC-land now.
Perrilloux, THE nation's top blue chipper from Louisiana whom everyone wanted - cut in the exact mold of Young - opted for LSU instead and has thrown all of 4 passes this season for the Tigers, completing one.
Neither former bluechipper has a touchdown pass, much less being two away from tying the national record for TD passes by a freshman (29).
Oh, and McElroy changed his mind, too. He's currently red-shirted at Alabama, as sophomore John Parker Wilson is having a pretty good year leading the Tide. I'm still hoping McElroy regains his senses and transfers to Tech.
What's my point? Well, I'd like to think at least Sanchez and Perrilloux are kicking themselves for not keeping their word.
Of course, they couldn't have foreseen the 2005 storybook year for Young and the Longhorns, or that Young would leave one year early for the NFL.
Can you imagine what a four-way competition for starting quarterback this past summer among Colt, Jevan Snead, Sanchez and Perrilloux would've been like?
Mack Brown would have definitely lost all his gray hairs. And his ultimate choice probably wouldn't have changed.
So now, Colt has already set two school records (6 TD passes in a game, 27 TD passes in a season) and is on the verge of two more (total offense for a freshman and total passing yards in a season).
And oh yeah, I don't see anyone else mentioned above on the current Heisman Poll. Colt is No. 4 this week (two votes shy of edging up to No. 3).
And just in case you haven't heard yet, yesterday Colt was named a semi-finalist for the 2006 Davey O'Brien Award, which recognizes the nation's best college quarterback. That's right, Vince Young won it last year.