Sports Illustrated has turned its illustrated sporty to Bruce Rollinson, the longtime Mater Dei High School's football coach who is poised to become the first field general to accomplish quite a feat.
Here's a hint: it involves two former Monarchs named Matt.
No, not Matt Taylor and Matt Grootegoed.
It's quarterbacks Matt Leinart, who is currently the Oakland Raiders backup, and Matt Barkley, USC's starter.
Heading into his senior season as the Trojan QB, Barkley is among those getting early mention as the next Heisman Trophy winner.
If Barkley puts up numbers like he did his first three seasons at 'SC, he should at least be a finalist. But if he walks away with the trophy recognizing college football's best player, the Mater Dei Class of 2009 graduate would join Leinart ('01) in being Heisman winners, both for USC.
As Kurt Wagner reports in SI, Rollinson would be the first to have coached two Heisman winners. (It would also complete a trifecta for the Monarchs, whose quarterback John Huarte of the Class of 1960 won the Heisman in '64 before going on to an NFL career with the Bears, Chiefs, Eagles, Patriots and Jets.)
“Rollie” has bettered his odds of achieving that milestone during his more than two decades (and counting) as the Mater Dei head coach, churning out 11 quarterbacks who left the Santa Ana parochial school for Division I college football programs.
Rollinson almost made it in 2007, three years after Leinart won the Heisman, when his former flame-thrower Colt Brennan was a finalist for the prize out of Hawaii.
Other QB standouts Rollinson coached included Billy Blanton, who went on to star at San
Diego State, and Danny O'Neil, the 1995 Rose Bowl MVP with Oregon.
Barkley explains in the SI piece how Rollinson lights fires under his squads:
“His pregame speeches give you goosebumps. He makes you want to dig down and find that place in your
heart when you think you can't go anymore. He makes you dig down and
find it so you'll go further.”
May “further” be the Downtown Athletic Club for Barkley.
In related news, given his great showing in two preseason games–and not-so-stellar outings by starter (and fellow Heisman winner) Carson Palmer ('98 Santa Margarita High School, '02 USC)–Leinart is producing a brand new quarterback controversy, according to Raider Nation chatter.
If Leinart, the Arizona Cardinals first pick in the 2006 NFL draft and 10th overall, can return to a starting role and string together enough victories, and Barkley can live up to equally high expectations after he enters the league, Rollinson can possibly be ooking at more impressive achievements by QBs he goosebumped.