Ranking the 10 best USC quarterbacks of all-time
No. 8 USC quarterback: Mark Sanchez
It is particularly difficult to settle Mark Sanchez’ place among the all-time Trojan quarterbacks because his time at the helm was so short. In his one season as a starter, however, the Mission Viejo star proved himself to be a special talent.
Sanchez threw for 3,207 yards and 34 touchdowns in 2008, along with three rushing scores. At the time, those passing touchdowns were the second-most by a USC quarterback behind only Matt Leinart. Though he has been surpassed by Matt Barkley, Cody Kessler and Sam Darnold on that mark, his season remains one of the best for a starting quarterback in Troy ever.
As a leader, Sanchez also guided USC to the brink of a national championship berth. However, a fluke loss to Oregon State early in the season and regional politics held the Trojans out of the title game.
Instead, Sanchez etched his name in Rose Bowl lore by tossing 413 yards and four touchdowns against Penn State in the “Granddaddy of Them All” in 2009.
Had he stayed for his final season of eligibility, he could have climbed quite a bit higher in the grand scheme of USC quarterbacks.
As it happened, Sanchez took his chances in the NFL. Though the more cringe-inducing aspects of his NFL career steal the spotlight, he was still a Top 5 NFL Draft pick by the New York Jets and managed to sustain a career a pro.