Ellison kicks off 2018 college football thoughts

Eric Ellison

We’re awaiting word from Utah on Banning product Eric Ellison.

Meanwhile, let’s cut loose with a few college football nuggets as Football 2018 gets underway soon.

Start with this: No USC quarterback has ever led their NFL team to a Super Bowl. Seems weird, doesn’t it?

Think of this: Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks Joe Namath, Bart Starr and Ken Stabler launched their NFL careers from Alabama.


Where did Troy Aikman play collegiately? Seems like it was UCLA.

All those sharp-shooting, highly-acclaimed, Heisman-hopeful Trojan quarterbacks – Matt Leinart, Pat Haden, Mark Sanchez, Carson Palmer, Todd Marinovich, Rodney Peete, among many others — could never lead their respective NFL teams to the Super Bowl. Palmer and Leinart won Heismans, incidentally.

Haden, a former starter and the backup to Vince Ferragamo in the Rams’ loss to Pittsburgh in 1980, might’ve come closest.

Stanford’s had two – Jim Plunkett and John Elway.

Elway was recruited out of Granada Hills right under USC’s nose.

College football 2018 is underway, so here are a few tidbits to think about in leading up to next January’s BCS championship:

Only two California-based teams – Stanford at No. 13, USC at No. 15 – were in the pre-season Top 25, topped by Alabama, of course. Only Boise State and No. 6 Washington were teams ranked west of the Rockies.

Washington is a team to keep an eye on for this year’s BCS championship, but just take a look at the Huskies’ roster:

Lots of Northwest kids, but Marquis Spiker from Murrieta Valley, with remaining SoCal players from Westlake, Orange Lutheran, Canyon Country, Encino Crespi, Mission Viejo, Cypress, Palmdale, a handful from Anaheim Servite, plus Mira Mesa, JSerra, Huntington Beach Edison, Etiwanda, plus State powers St. John Bosco, Concord de la Salle and Corona Centennial.

While the college football world watched to see if Urban Meyer would wind up on the same scrap heap as previous Ohio State coaches Jim Trussell and Woody Hayes – fired over scandal — Alabama remains the same football powerhouse as it did when Nick Saban showed up over a decade ago.

Where does UCLA, with celebrated new coach Chip Kelly, fit into the mix?

(One of Kelly’s assistant coaches is Don Pellum, a legendary football/basketball player at Banning a few decades back.)

So why is college football so important to the San Gorgonio Pass?

Most kids, regardless of position, have dreams.

The Bruins’ roster is loaded with players from some of the same campuses that Huskies’ coach Chris Peterson – remember him from Boise State? – has acquired.

USC? It lost quarterback Sam Darnold to the draft. Their next shooter will be good, no doubt.

The Trojans, once again, are loaded with SoCal’s top prospects. Riverside Poly receiver Ykili Ross comes to mind, especially since he had a pair of passes intercepted by Redlands East Valley’s Isaiah Armstrong (BYU) in the 2014 CIF-Southern Section Division 2 championship game at Riverside Ramona.

Ross currently plays safety in Trojan maroon.

Back to Saban: If the Miami Dolphins’ medical staff had cleared San Diego Chargers’ quarterback Drew Brees (shoulder injury, surgery), imagine where the Dolphins would be right now.

Instead, Brees went to New Orleans.

A strong Miami defense had Daunte Culpepper running the show at quarterback.

Miami’s coach was none other than Saban.

So the AFC East would’ve been a decade-long duel between Bill Belichick-Tom Brady against Saban-Brees.

Alabama would be just another college team with big budgets, big hopes and big letdowns. Culpepper-at-QB led the pathway for Saban-to-Alabama.

For the small-campus high schools out there: Michael Brown, a placekicker for USC, came from Temecula Linfield Christian.

Throw in James Tolan IV, who spent his prep days terrorizing opponents (including Banning, twice in 2012) as a running back, came from nearby Indio Shadow Hills. He was at USC from 2013-2017.

The San Gorgonio Pass Area is starving for top quarterback play.

As for Ellison, whose electrifying play included 50 total touchdowns in almost every way imaginable, including punt and kick returns, receiver, carrying but not counting a few touchdown passes.

Most people watching all that had to wonder what his future would be like. Consider watching Utah games whenever he makes the Utes’ roster.


More from this section

BANNING FOOTBALL: New team, new season, new league for the Broncos … At quarterback, it’ll be either Madison or Galloway … Offensive line could be team’s best feature … Ceja could key defensive dynamics at MLB.

FOOTBALL: Current NFL player brings his friends … It’s a “family,” says current Broncos coach … Banning High assistant coaches named … Lewis gets second year as school A.D. … Next year’s clinic might be even bigger.

SPORT NOTES: MSJC’s Jordan lands at Utah, Jones heads for Lobos … MSJC golfer gets shot at Longwood Univ. … Pritchett ranks in top 10 in Top Fuel … Derron Smith football camp Saturday, attracts Darqueze Dennard.

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