INDIANAPOLIS – Jimmy Clausen has talked about narrowing his choice of college to Notre Dame and USC, why he went with the Irish and how much he still loves former Trojans coach Pete Carroll.
Well, Carroll also remembers Clausen. Vividly, and somewhat humorously.
“It really was (that close). It was either/or,” Carroll, the Seahawks’ new coach, said Saturday during a break at the NFL scouting combine. “What it came down to was – and he won’t say it – but Mark Sanchez or Notre Dame. So he made a great choice for himself.”
Sanchez, of course, was with the Trojans when Clausen was contemplating his selection. Sanchez also was a first-round draft choice by the New York Jets last year.
But the Carroll-Clausen relationship does have deep roots.
“I watched Jimmy throw when he was a ninth-grader,” Carroll said. “That’s how far back we go. He was 13. I watched all his film every year. I know the family and all of that. We recruited him all through the process.”