An exceptional student athlete, Cassel (pictured, left) was recruited by football coaches nationwide, from the Ivy League to top 20 powers. He opted for Southern Cal, believing he would inherit the starting job from Carson Palmer. But Pete Carroll decided otherwise. On the final day before a spring game in 2003, Carroll chose Matt Leinart over Cassel. "It was dead even at the time," Carroll said. "We just wrestled with it and went with Leinart, and he never looked back." Cassel never started a game while at USC. He was taken by the Patriots in the seventh round of the 2005 draft.
(Los Angeles Times Photo / Analeto Rapping)