Undrafted stars of the Pac 10 Conference

NFL Draft Football
The Pac 10 enters each season trying to establish itself among the nation’s elite conferences. But with each coming fall, the league is greeted with the same disrespect by the media and in the polls. It’s a football conference commonly tagged as “USC and the 9 dwarfs”, and the 7-year domination by the Trojans does nothing to assist in breaking the stereotype.

USC spent the ’08 season victimized by public opinion, unable to overcome the early loss to Oregon State and climb in the polls. Their conference brethren lacked regular season popularity, failing to be legitimized until they ran through the post season unscathed.

The NFL doesn’t share the same opinion, as the conference is well represented on rosters, and had a fair share of players drafted this past weekend. But there were also a handful of familiar faces that watched for 7 rounds without hearing their names called. Their circumstances had nothing to do with media popularity or numbers in a poll.  They stepped onto amateur fields as star performers for their programs, but the professionals gave a different evaluation and showed no interest.

Rudy Carpenter, QB, Arizona State It’s a reach to label Carpenter a star, because he played behind an offensive line that never enabled him to perform. But last summer, he was considered one of the top quarterback prospects for 2009, and argued as the best in the Pac 10. After obtaining the starting role and forcing Sam Keller out of the program and into the cornfields of Nebraska, Carpenter now meets the same fate as his predecessor, going undrafted.

Willie Tuitama, QB, Arizona- Tuitama finished his college career as the most prolific passer in Arizona football history. But unlike Rudy Carpenter, he’s a spread quarterback, giving him late round draft projections. After being charged with extreme DUI in March, any hope of NFL selection became as empty as the bottles of alcohol consumed. It’s already risky to draft a system quarterback, and foolish to pick one that would begin his career in the league’s substance abuse program.

Jeremiah Johnson (RB) and Jaison Williams (WR), Oregon- The Ducks saw two of their biggest playmakers drafted in 2008, with Jonathan Stewart going in the first round. The NFL wasn’t impressed with the new crop for 2009, and neither Johnson nor Williams were selected.

UCLA- The Bruins were shutout of the NFL draft for only the second time since 1963. Injuries may have contributed to the doughnut, with Kahlil Bell, Patrick Cowan, and Ben Olsen all spending significant time on the sidelines over the years. The bad luck continued for Ben Olsen, who was unable to perform at the UCLA pro-day, after re-injuring his foot. And just think, once upon a time, he was the most sought after quarterback in the country.

For the second consecutive year, Stanford had no players drafted. In comparison, USC had 21 players selected in the same span. A 21-0 ratio is an indication of men against boys on a football field. Can someone tell me how the Trojans lost to the Cardinal?

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~ by Anthony on April 28, 2009.

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