Sanchez Surveys Choices After USC Visit

Some reports earlier this week had California quarterback Mark Sanchez down to two choices -- Ohio State and Texas. But is that still the case? Sanchez made an unofficial visit to nearby USC on Tuesday. Click here for details on that visit as well as his thoughts on his college choices as well as a link to video of this top-10 college prospect.

California quarterback Mark Sanchez is in a position every boy dreams of. He has four of the nation's biggest college football powerhouses nipping at his heels, begging for his services.

Earlier this week, there were reports that the 6-3, 215-pound Sanchez – ranked as the nation's No. 2 quarterback and No. 10 prospect overall by -- was about to narrow his college choices to Ohio State and Texas.

However, his list remains at four as Notre Dame recently came through with an expected scholarship offer and a Tuesday visit to nearby USC – just under an hour from his home in Mission Viejo, Calif. – left the Trojans still firmly in the mix.

"At this point, all of these schools are showing a lot of interest in me," Sanchez told "I am the luckiest guy in the world. I'm loving it. I'm just taking it all in stride."

The latest development for Sanchez was his visit to USC.

"It was great," Sanchez said. "I sat down and talked to Coach Carroll, just like I had with Coach Willingham, Coach Tressel and Coach Mack Brown. I was able to ask some questions and get a better feel for what I am looking at."

When asked if the visit kept USC in his plans, Sanchez said, "Most definitely. It would be tough for any quarterback to pass up an experience like that, working with (offensive assistant Norm) Chow after what they've done with their last two quarterbacks there.

"Basically, they said they are all about competition. Like anywhere I go, the best player is going to play. They said that to basically pass up a place like SC because of the depth chart wouldn't be a smart thing to do. They said things happen, people get hurt and they get into trouble. In terms of the depth chart, it is maybe not as enticing a place as Ohio State or Texas or Notre Dame."

Sanchez's interest in Ohio State happened almost by accident, he said.

"When (defensive end) Ryan Williams committed to them in May, they left a couple letters for me," Sanchez said. "I looked into and saw they will have two sophomores (Justin Zwick and Troy Smith) battling it out. Again, things happen. Maybe somebody will transfer if they don't win the job. It could end up being a great situation for me to go in there and compete."

As was reported previously, Sanchez made a stop in Columbus to visit OSU unofficially in mid-June.

"Originally, Ohio State wasn't in the picture," Sanchez said. "When we scheduled that trip, we were going to Notre Dame and Nebraska. We had bought plane tickets and everything. But then Nebraska took a quarterback (Florida's Harrison Beck) who was pretty much going to be their guy. When they took him, we had to regroup.

"Maybe that will turn out to be a blessing in disguise. We jumped ship and took a look at Ohio State. Our family has some good friends in Upper Arlington, near the university, and we were able to stay with them."

Upon visiting Ohio State, Sanchez got a better feel for Jim Tressel and the coaching staff.

"Coach Tressel has done a great job with that program in a short time," Sanchez said. "When you talk to everyone there, they say Coach Tressel is a football guy. He is an all-around good guy and a standup guy. What you see is what you get from him. He is somebody you want to be around.

"If you were picking teams to do something, you'd want to get him first."

If Tressel was impressive, what the staff at Texas did was almost unprecedented. When the UT coaches learned that Sanchez had scheduled a swing through Austin during their vacation week, several of them cut their breaks short and came back to campus.

"That said a lot to me right there," Sanchez said. "The depth chart situation looks pretty good for me at Texas. They said they were waiting around on some quarterbacks last year that they thought they were going to get and they kind of got bitten in the butt. Now they want the chance to land a pretty big quarterback in this class. That's their selling point. It is a tough situation for them and a great situation for me."

Now comes the hardest part, though. Sanchez and his family will begin the evaluation process of each school and start eliminating them until he settles on his college choice.

"We're going to sit down this weekend and see what we wanted to see about each of these four schools," he said. "There really is no rush, but hopefully we'll know something by sometime next week or the week after."

Obviously, OSU already has Williams in the fold. A third Mission Viejo prospect, offensive lineman Kevin Bemoll, is due to fly out to Columbus and make an official visit in the days ahead. Would a three-man package deal sway Sanchez?

"That would be awesome," he said. "Whether that will fit into all of our future plans remains to be seen. That would almost be too good to be true to have two high school teammates I already know on the same team with me."

In the meantime, Sanchez is preparing for the Elite 11 quarterback camp. His own high school coach, Bob Johnson, conducts the camp at his school.

"That will definitely be great," Sanchez said. "It will be a big measuring stick for me and all of the other guys. With Coach Johnson conducting the camp, our school helps out with it. It has been neat to see the guys come through there in years past and make our own judgements on who could play. Our linebackers help out by dropping into coverage and giving the quarterbacks reads. It should be a good, competitive atmosphere."

Sanchez, who boasts 4.85 speed in the 40, threw for 2,600 yards, 29 touchdowns, and only four interceptions as a junior. He had a 75 percent completion rate. He rushed for 90 yards and had a touchdown receiving on a reverse throwback. He was named first team all-league, all-county and All-CIF. He led Mission Viejo to a 13-1 mark. The Diablos actually won their first 13 games before falling to Hart 25-7 in the CIF Southern Section Division II finals.

He holds a 3.7 GPA and reportedly scored an 1180 on the SAT.

Click here to see video clips of Sanchez in action.

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