Jimmy Clausen hath returned! The Chicago Bears decided to bench Jay Cutler today, sitting him right next to his comically huge bag of cash. Off the bench comes ol' James R. Clausen, he of Notre Dame and over-hyped recruiting fame. Clausen is perhaps best known for arriving to South Bend for his commitment signing in a stretch Hummer limo, and also for having to repeat the sixth grade. If you've been regarded as one of the top recruits in the nation, and this is all you're remembered for seven years later? Chances are you're a bust.
So what about those other highly recruited QBs? Whatever happened to guys like Rhett Bomar? Or Marcus Vick? Let's revisit the past 12 years of quarterback recruiting in college football, and take a look at where the top quarterbacks ended up, and where they went... or what direction they're heading.
Highest Ranked QB: Vince Young (Texas)
Not much can be said about Young that hasn't already been reported over the course of his career. Young took the reigns midway through his second year at Texas, and never looked back, leading the team to two Rose Bowl victories, including a National Championship. Young broke the majority of non-receiving offensive records Texas had on their books, and was rewarded by being drafted with the third pick in the NFL Draft by the Tennessee Titans. In a certain light, Young's career with Tennessee went pretty well, all things considered. He went to two Pro Bowls and played in a couple playoff games. He was also on the cover of Madden once, which is the only thing he has in common with Peyton Hillis. Young had a tumultuous relationship with head coach Jeff Fisher, however, and was booted out of Tennessee a year after his second Pro Bowl appearance. Young ended his time with the Titans with a 30-17 record as a starter, having thrown for over 8000 yards and compiling a 42-42 TD-INT ratio.
From there, Young went to the Philadelphia Eagles, as part of the Young-dubbed "Dream Team". Michael Vick, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Nnamdi Asomugha, Jason Babin, DeSean Jackson, LeSean McCoy, and Ronnie Brown were all a part of this team, and on paper, Young looked like a prophet. When all was said and done, though, the Eagles went 8-8, Young threw four touchdowns to eight interceptions, and it was all much ado about nothing. Young was booted at the end of the year, and after very brief stops in Green Bay, Buffalo, and Cleveland, Young was out of football. The last time Young made headlines was earlier this year, after reaching a settlement with his lender to prevent him from having to file for bankruptcy. He retired from pro football in June, and has since worked for the University of Texas as a development officer for the football program's alumni relations, raising money to help first-generation and low-income college students receive an education.
Highest Ranked QB: Kyle Wright (Miami-FL)
I actually already wrote about Mr. Wright earlier this year as a part of my piece on the top 10 prospects from 2003. You should check it out!
Highest Ranked QB: Rhett Bomar (Oklahoma)
Bomar might have had the most do-nothing career of anybody I'm about to feature here, and that's saying a lot. Bomar became the starter for the Sooners in 2005, leading the team to a victory in the Holiday Bowl. During the offseason, however, Bomar was dismissed from the team for not doing his job where he was employed, a car dealership owned by a major OU booster. After enrolling at Sam Houston State, Bomar became one of the best quarterbacks in the FCS, but unfortunately didn't win many games. This didn't stop the New York Giants from picking him up in the fifth round of the 2009 draft, though perhaps it should have. Bomar never left the practice squad for the Giants, and was gone in a year. Bomar was actually on the active roster for the Minnesota Vikings in 2010, but didn't play a single down. After getting cut by the Oakland Raiders when they signed fellow bust Matthew Leinart in 2012, Bomar was out of football without ever recording a single stat. Bomar has since been an assistant coach for his father's high school team in Orange Grove, TX. He was arrested for drunk driving in 2013.
BONUS!: Xavier Lee (Florida State)
You could make a serious case that Lee was the greatest quarterback in Florida high school history, which is really something. He finished his prep career as the state's all-time leader in passing yards, completions, and touchdowns, and the fact that he stayed in-state to be a Seminole made his future seem all the brighter. Lee, however, had one obstacle: Drew Weatherford. Don't remember him? He was the starting quarterback for Florida State at the time, and he would continue to switch off as starter with Lee for the remainder of both their careers, depending on who was playing worse or was injured at the time. Lee finished his career at FSU after his Junior year, declaring for the NFL draft despite not having done anything of real note in college. He threw for 2,323 yards in the 19 games he played in over three years, throwing 15 touchdowns to 11 interceptions. Lee was not invited to the combine and subsequently went undrafted. Lee has been signed to eleven indoor football teams of varying distinction since 2008, both as a quarterback and as a wide receiver.
Highest Ranked QB: Mark Sanchez (Southern California)
There was a time in the 2000s where every quarterback who played at Southern Cal was immediately regarded as a huge deal and a major pro prospect, regardless of their actual performance. Despite skeptics painting him as a pretty-boy West Coaster, Sanchez did lead SoCal to a Rose Bowl victory in his final season, as well as throwing the second-most touchdowns in a season for the team, behind only Matt Leinart. Sanchez became the first quarterback to leave SoCal early since Todd Marinovich, and was drafted with the fifth pick in the first round of the NFL draft by the New York Jets. The Jets subsequently signed the rookie to a five-year, $50 million contract, with $28 million guaranteed. To date, it is the largest Jets contract in history. Despite a rough rookie campaign, he led the Jets to the AFC Conference Championship his first two seasons, and had his best year statistically in 2011, though the Jets finished 8-8. The next two years were far more tumultuous for Sanchez, as he underperformed in 2012 and was injured for all of 2013, whereupon he was replaced by rookie Geno Smith.
Exiled by the bumbling Jets, Sanchez has found a second, still-mediocre career with the Eagles, thus far leading them to a 3-3 record with ten touchdowns and nine interceptions under his belt.
Highest Ranked QB: Matthew Stafford (Georgia)
Chunky bro! Stafford nabbed the starting job in his second game as a true freshman with the Bulldogs, and never looked back. He became the first true freshman to start at QB since Quincy Carter and the first to start out of high school since Eric Zeier. In his three years at Georgia, Stafford racked up an impressive 30-9 record with 51 touchdowns and 33 interceptions to his name. Stafford was a unanimous number one pick in the NFL draft, and he's been the starter for the Detroit Lions ever since, becoming the team's all-time career leader in pass attempts, completions, yards, and touchdowns. Thus far, he has never been to a Pro Bowl.
Highest Ranked QB: Jimmy Clausen
Oh Jimmy. I already mentioned the part about him showing up for his singing in the stretch Hummer, right? Did I mention his rings?
Yeah, the guy loved showing off the rings. He didn't show off his off-season elbow surgery as much, and his arm strength would continue to be questioned throughout his career. It didn't help that he was sacked a Notre Dame-record 34 times in his rookie campaign, but Clausen recovered, and managed to put together a pretty good career at ND. Over his last two years there, he threw 53 touchdowns to 21 interceptions, and broke Notre Dame's nine-game consecutive bowl losing streak with a win over Hawai'i in the Hawai'i Bowl. Clausen left Notre Dame after his Junior year, and was drafted in the second round by the Carolina Panthers. Clausen was going to be the future for the Carolina Panthers, much like he was supposed to be the future for Notre Dame. Clausen compiled a 1-9 record as a starter, and threw just three TDs to nine interceptions. Clausen didn't play a down for Carolina over the next three seasons, thanks mostly to Cam Newton being Cam Newton, and he was cut by the team in 2013. But that isn't stopping the Bears from making him the starting quarterback over the egregiously-paid Jay Cutler!
2008-2015 Top QBs coming tomorrow...