Former USC quarterback Matt Leinart opened up to the Seth Davis Show about how he almost became a Michigan Wolverine.
The Trojans were at the top of the college football mountain, looking down on the rest of the FBS.
With Pete Carroll manning the ship, USC was electric every Saturday with Reggie Bush, Lendale White and Dwayne Jarrett finding paths to the end zone. And no one could forget the man who was responsible for leading them down the field: Matt Leinart.
Of course, Leinart was tasked with taking the reins over from Carson Palmer, who had won the Heisman Trophy in 2002 and became the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft. He responded by winning his own Heisman in 2004 en route to a national championship with the Trojans.
But Leinart’s career could have gone much differently. When the former USC quarterback spoke with the Seth Davis Show, he explained how the Michigan Wolverines were extremely close to bringing him to Ann Arbor.
“I almost gave my mom a heart attack. She knew I was leaning toward Michigan when I was getting ready to sign,” Leinart said.
The Santa Ana, California native grew up a UCLA fan and had plenty of offers to choose from. Arizona State and Oklahoma were very much in the running, but Michigan was the program that came the closest to pulling him away from home.
“I had fallen in love with it [Michigan] because we knew somebody on the team, it’s a great place to go to college, and I was really, really close to [committing],” Leinart said. “But I told my mom I was going to USC, and she literally started crying because she was so happy. It was close then, but looking back I don’t think I could’ve ever left [California].”
Had he gone to Ann Arbor, there’s no telling how his football career would have panned out. The landscape of college football would have been altered in a monumental way, though.
And if he had to do it all again, he wouldn’t change a thing.
“I’m obviously glad I didn’t sign with the Wolverines,” Leinart said. “I don’t think I would’ve lasted. I’m a SoCal kid, and I couldn’t leave home.”