September 30, 2008

McCoy exceeds expectations at Texas

Don't ever let anyone tell you that they thought Colt McCoy was ever going to be this good.

Just stop them in their tracks if the words start to flow from their lips.

In watching McCoy's development this season I'm reminded of his recruitment and how the presence of Ryan Perriloux really gave McCoy cause for reconsidering his commitment to the Longhorns. Although it never received much attention, there were a lot of schools making late runs at McCoy and he didn't exactly run away from each school. If the Texas staff believed back in 2005 that McCoy was going to be this good or even had the upside to be this good, they would have never let the golden goose crap in their yard time and time again.

You guys all remember the lies.

The truth of the matter is that McCoy was projected as a perfect No.2 quarterback in this class for a lot of reasons and was never truly thought of by most people as legitimate starting quarterback, at least not with a quarterback God on campus at the position when he was being recruited. The Longhorns needed a dynamic "wow" guy at quarterback and McCoy was this small-town kid that had never seen anything close to the competition he'd fact at Texas.

In all of those games that McCoy played at Jim Ned high school, how many Division I players did he face?

Without bothering to look it up, I'm guessing that the number can be counted on one hand.

If you really want to peel back the layers on this onion, you'll see that what McCoy is currently accomplishing in a Longhorn uniform is nothing less than historic. Here's what was staring McCoy dead in the face when he was recruited:

a) Played at a classification level that has produced very few impact players, especially at the quarterback position in recent history.
b) That point is compounded by the fact that he played in a part of the state that produces few elite-level college prospects/players.
c) Nothing about McCoy's athletic talent suggested that his skill set was so strong that it would offset some of the obvious concerns about the first two points.

When I tell you that no quarterback in the modern history of college football has been able to accomplish what McCoy is accomplishing right now, I dare you to try and prove my point, especially if we're comparing apples to apples and talking about the prospects that have emerged from the Lone Star State.

To best understand everything it really important to understand where McCoy has had to come from and the odds that he's had to overcome. We're treading territory that has never been crossed before.

Yes, the kid had the great sounding name, but at the end of the day he was just an above-average athlete that put up some nice stats at one of the smallest classifications in high school football. If you think I'm undervaluing his reputation coming into Texas, understand exactly what the Longhorns did during and after his recruitment.

The mess with Perrilloux was one thing, but look at the desperation that the Longhorns attacked the position following his signing. First, they targeted Matt Stafford and when he chose Georgia, they scurried to fill his shoes before landing Jevan Snead, who seemed to fall from the heavens right into their lap in December of 2005.

Boom goes the dynamite, remember?

The very next recruiting year had the Longhorns chasing John Brantley in Florida and then offering G.J. Kinne[/db[ late in the process because of concern that more attention was still needed at the position.

Perrilloux. Stafford. Snead. Brantley.

At one point they were all considered to be the guy that could potentially lead the Longhorn program to true greatness in the way that Vince Young had in 2004-05. Meanwhile, few thought McCoy would be able to hold off any of these guys when it was all said and done.

I'm as guilty of that line of thinking as anyone and it's not that I didn't think McCoy had talent, I just didn't think he was as much talent as the other guys and I always wondered in the back of my mind whether McCoy could handle the load after playing at little ol' Jim Ned.

Yet here we are.

Perrilloux is invisible. Stafford has yet to live up to the expectations that come with being someone who might be a No.1 overall pick in the NFL. Snead transferred after losing the job. Brantley is buried on the depth chart in Gainesville.

And McCoy?

He's emerged as the little engine that can.

In addition to emerging as a true team leader in and out of the locker room, he's become the heart and soul of the offense. He's not only breaking every passing record in the books, he's emerged as the program's best hope for explosive runs in the ground attack.

People like to talk about the underdog stories that faced [db]Chase Daniel and Todd Reesing, but they sure as hell didn't have all of the obstacles in front of them that McCoy was staring at.

We've seen great short quarterbacks before in college football, but we've never seen anyone with McCoy's pedigree (or lack thereof) accomplish the things that he's accomplished.

The reason for this history lesson is simple - people are taking his level of play for granted and there's a great story to be told right now.

At a time when almost everyone thought that only someone with a five-star pedigree could survive and excel as a quarterback in Austin, McCoy has willed himself to prove otherwise.

It's an improbable story that keeps providing improbable results and no matter the finish to the story, don't ever let anyone tell you that they saw it coming.


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