"I looked at the pros and cons of each of the three final schools (USC, Ohio State, Texas) and ranked them in categories," said Sanchez. "Each school had something they were the best in and it was pretty even in that regard. The turning point came when my brother asked me what my ultimate goal was. I told him it was to play on Sundays. He asked which school would best prepare me for that. I said USC, no brainer."
Sanchez has seen his stock rise this off-season with a series of outstanding performances at various camps, combines and passing tournaments. He combines great decision making and football intelligence with good footwork and a solid arm. Mark also has the benefit of playing for Bob Johnson in the proficient Diablo offense and he's experienced a lot of success in that system.
"Mark has all the tools you want in a college quarterback," said Johnson. "He's big, he makes good decisions and he's already got a college arm."
After transferring from Santa Margarita last summer Sanchez lead Mission Viejo to a 13-1 record as a junior while throwing for 2,600 yards with 29 touchdowns and only four interceptions. In a key stat, he also completed 75% of his passes, an important note when considering the emphasis Norm Chow places on accuracy.
Sanchez was in attendance at many home games in the LA Coliseum last fall and had been considered a USC lean from the beginning of the recruiting process but he ended up taking a summer trip to Columbus, OH and Austin, TX to see what those schools were all about. He was impressed with what he saw but in the end he decided to stay local with the Trojans. There had been speculation that the future of Norm Chow, and the presence of other quarterbacks on the USC roster, would be enough to convince Mark to head elsewhere but that wasn't the case.
"Even if Coach Chow leaves the system will stay the same," says Sanchez. "The competition would be great at any of the schools I was looking at and they all have great quarterbacks. I just felt the most comfortable with USC giving me the best chance to reach my goals."