College: Southern California
Birthday: May 11, 1983
If any quarterback has ever had the resume to support a decision to enter the NFL draft early, it was Matt Leinart after the 2004 season: a 25-1 record as a starter, a Heisman Trophy, and one undisputed national championship and a share of another. Despite all of that, he decided to pass on the big bucks and enjoy the college life for another year.
The lefthander has a strong and very accurate arm and the size to stand in against the rush and bounce back from the big hit. Well schooled in a pro-style offense, Leinart rarely makes mistakes. Coaches and teammates rave about his leadership, toughness, and poise.
Leinart is not a great athlete but he can avoid the rush and throw while on the move. Some scouts question his ability to get rid of the ball quickly due to his long release, although most believe that can be fixed.
Leinart sat out spring practice after undergoing surgery for tendonitis in his left elbow, but he’s expected to make a full recovery. He enters his first collegiate season without quarterback mentor Norm Chow, but former Chow protégés take over the offensive coordinator and quarterback coach duties so the transition should be smooth.
Leinart passed on the chance to be the top pick in the 2005 draft, choosing one more year as the glamour boy at a glamour program in a glamour town. He has a shot at adding more hardware to his collection and remains the favorite to be the first player to have his name called in next April’s draft.
(profile written by Warren DeLuca)
Matt Leinart’s 2004 Stats G ATT CMP % YDS TD INT 13 412 269 65.3 3,322 33 6 Matt Leinart Home