Matt Leinart is one of three Trojans on the ballot for the College Football Hall of Fame. It's all but a sure thing that Leinart will get in, but if you were to have to make a case for his candidacy by giving one play, one stat or tidbit from his career, what would it be?
Garry Paskwietz: As much as I’m tempted to pick an individual moment such as the “Bush Push” or 4th and 9 -- either one will do -- I’m going to go with his overall mark of 37-2 as a starting quarterback for the Trojans. He lost his fourth game as a starter (in triple OT against California) and then the 39th (a game against Texas that many call the best in college football history) with a 34-game win streak in between. Simply put, that is an awful lot of winning and, as Herm Edwards once said, you play to win the game. It’s also important to remember that the Trojans had a huge target on their back for much of that run, as USC was ranked as a top 10 team in every game that Leinart ever started, including two full years where they entered each game as the top-ranked team in the country.
Johnny Curren: Leinart’s resume from his time as a starting quarterback on the college level is stacked, and there’s absolutely no doubt that he deserves to get elected into the College Football Hall of Fame as soon as possible. At USC he showcased a phenomenal combination of poise, confidence, physical tools, as well as an incredible football IQ that you just don’t see too often, and his individual numbers and accomplishments were impressive to say the least. For me, however, what sticks out most is 37-2 -- his record as a three-year starter for the Trojans. Sure, the Heisman Trophy, the 10,693 career passing yards, 4th-and-9 against Notre Dame … those were all impressive in their own right, but 37-2 really shows who he was. Directing USC to two national titles, and to the BCS title game in 2005, shows that he was just a winner on the college level, plain and simple. That’s what is most important any way you look at it.
Greg Katz: Being a Heisman Trophy winner would seem to be enough of a credential to get Leinart to the College Football Hall of Fame. However, it’s his overall body of work, which means winning 37 of 39 games, not to mention two national championships, runner-up in a third title game, and three conference titles. If there is one player that should be a unanimous first-ballot choice, it’s Leinart, arguably the greatest USC football player ever.