USC quarterbacks: Where are they now?

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By AUBREY KRAGEN
College Contributor Network

My mom always told me that trends tend to repeat themselves. Though I think she meant that bell-bottom pants would be back in style soon (nope), I see this applying in the NFL right now.

Don't blink. People are talking about USC quarterbacks again.

Over the past few years, Trojan quarterbacks have been known to be wildly successful in college, but burn out as soon as they got to the big leagues. But Carson Palmer and Mark Sanchez have put USC back in the national spotlight, prompting me to take a look at the current state of some of the Trojans' most beloved signal-callers.

Carson Palmer

Palmer has bounced around the NFL since being picked first overall in the 2003 Draft, and has fought through a number of injuries. He looked to have found a home in Arizona and was in the midst of revitalizing his career this season.

After getting his team off to an 8-1 start -- the best record in the NFL -- Palmer earned a three-year $50 million contract extension. But just two days later, he tore his left ACL, ending his season in nearly unbelievable fashion.

Best wishes to USC's 2002 Heisman winner. He's come back from injury before -- can he do it again?

Mark Sanchez

A year ago, Sanchez was the laughing stock of the NFL. Following a brutal 2012 season, in which he threw 18 interceptions and just 13 touchdowns, Sanchez got shoulder surgery and watched rookie QB Geno Smith run the Jets even further into the ground in 2013.

But on Monday Night Football against the Panthers, the now-Eagles quarterback stunned us all while filling in for the injured Nick Foles, finishing with 332 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions in the Eagles' blowout win.

After he started the game with two incompletions, I threw my hands up and waited for the return of the Butt Fumble, but he turned it on after that -- his next seven completions were for 15, 21, 21, 17, 20, 20 and 13 yards, respectively.

'The Sanchize' has returned.

Matt Barkley

Sanchez and the Eagles blew the Panthers out so badly that Barkley got a chance to take some reps late in the game, much to the delight of USC fans everywhere.

'Matty B' will always be a golden boy for the Trojan faithful, but has had an extremely underwhelming NFL career, with just four appearances (in which he's thrown a combined 300 yards, four picks and no touchdowns). But at this point, who knows what will happen? Barkley could become the next Tom Brady.

Matt Leinart

From one Matt to the next, Leinart might be the best college quarterback of all time. He exemplified the trend of being stellar at USC -- posting a record of 37-2, winning the 2004 Heisman and leading USC to two national championships (one if Mark Emmert is looking over your shoulder), but he underperformed in the NFL.

Leinart is now an analyst on Fox Sports 1, where he frequently butts heads with Brady Quinn.

John David Booty

JDB might be the biggest enigma of them all. But for all of you yearning to know what the 2008 Rose Bowl MVP is up to, I can tell you that he's living in Orange County with his wife and two young kids, working in investments for Spectrum Group Real Estate.

How do I know? His life is normal enough that he had five minutes to chat on the phone with me about his daily routine and the current Trojan football team.

"You know to be honest, I think they're doing pretty good," Booty said. "I know people on the outside might agree or disagree with that. But the few games they lost, they were right there in it and just weren't able to pull it out."

Booty, who put the "Southern" in Southern Cal, also had some encouraging words about current USC QB Cody Kessler.

"He's doing an awesome job," Booty said. "He's protecting the football, and that's what's keeping them in a lot of games."

Who knows where Kessler will end up? Only time will tell.


Aubrey Kragen is a senior at USC majoring in Communication. She was born in San Diego and is a fan of the Chargers, the Padres and the Spurs (because she needs at least one good team to root for). Follow her on Twitter: @aubreykragen
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