|Jimmy Clausen, folks.
High school: Texarkana (TX) Texas
Ratings: Rivals 5-star, #2 QB
Other notable offers: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida State, Texas
Scoop: Mallett committed to Michigan as the heir apparent to Chad Henne, and the youngster got a chance to play early and often. Henne suffered a couple nagging injuries, and Mallett stepped in to go 61/141 (43.1%) for 892 yards, 7 touchdowns, and 5 interceptions as a true freshman. He might have been on his way out the door already, but the hiring of Rich Rodriguez after the 2007 season didn’t help matters. Mallett transferred to Arkansas, sitting out the 2008 season as a result. As the starter for the Razorbacks in 2009 and 2010, he went a combined 491/814 for 7,296 yards 62 touchdowns, and 19 interceptions. He was drafted in the third round of the 2011 NFL Draft by the New England Patriots, but he has played in just four games, all in 2012. Altogether, he’s 1/4 for 17 yards and 1 interception, with 8 carries for -9 yards.
High school: Westlake Village (CA) Oaks Christian
Ratings: Rivals 5-star, #1 QB, #1 overall
College: Notre Dame
Other notable offers: South Carolina, USC
Scoop: Clausen committed in September 2006 and enrolled early at Notre Dame in January 2007. He was starting by the second game of 2007, the earliest freshman QB to start at Notre Dame. He eventually started nine games that year, finishing with a 56.3% completion percentage, 7 touchdowns, and 6 interceptions. The unquestioned starter going into 2008, Clausen started every game and completed 60.9% of his passes for 3,172 yards, 25 touchdowns, and 17 interceptions. Improving yet again, he become a 68% passer in 2009 with 3,722 yards, 28 touchdowns, and 4 interceptions. He declared for the NFL Draft after his junior year and many expected him to be a high first round pick, but he fell to #48 overall in the 2010 draft, going to the Carolina Panthers. He was given ten starts as a rookie, going 157/299 (52.5%), 1558 yards, 3 touchdowns, and 9 interceptions. The Panthers hitched their franchise to Cam Newton, relegating Clausen to the bench, where he has spent the last two-plus seasons. They released him in August 2013 but re-signed him before placing him on injured reserve.
High school: Springfield (VA) West Springfield
Ratings: Rivals 4-star, #5 pro-style QB
Other notable offers: Miami, UCLA
Scoop: Lalich committed to Virginia in April 2006. He played sparingly as a freshman and sophomore in 2007 and 2008, compiling 74 completions in 135 attempts (54.8%) for 2 touchdowns and 4 interceptions. However, several alcohol incidents resulted in a transfer to Oregon State, where he redshirted during the 2009 season due to NCAA transfer rules. After yet another incident, he transferred to California University in Pennsylvania. As the starter in 2011, he threw for 3,725 yards, 31 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions. In an injury-shortened 2012, he threw for 2,413 yards, 21 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions. He was not taken in the 2013 NFL Draft and appears not to be involved in professional football at this time.
High school: Syracuse (NY) Christian Brothers
Ratings: Rivals 4-star, #4 pro-style QB, #82 overall
College: North Carolina
Other notable offers: Alabama, Miami, USC
Scoop: Paulus, the brother of former Duke basketball player and Syracuse quarterback Greg Pauls, committed in April 2006. He redshirted as a true freshman and then went 4/13 for 33 yards, 0 touchdowns, and 2 interceptions as a redshirt freshman in 2008. After sitting on the bench behind T.J. Yates in 2009, Paulus transferred to FCS school William & Mary prior to the 2010 campaign. He went 88/142 for 883 yards, 4 touchdowns, and 2 interceptions while playing a backup role. Once again a backup as a fifth year senior in 2011, he went just 28/72 for 267 yards, 1 touchdown, and 3 interceptions. He now works at VCU in the athletic office.
In Lloyd Carr’s final full class, he made offers to some very questionable people and football players. Mallett played one season at Michigan before transferring, and while he had a very good college career at Arkansas, he was perhaps not the greatest leader. Clausen was also not an ideal character throughout his college career, although he parlayed it into a decent result on draft day. Lalich and Paulus both stunk it up at the higher levels of college football and then had mixed success after moving down a level.
Biggest miss: Clausen. Like him or not – and I don’t – Clausen had some physical talent and would have fit well with Carr’s pro-style offense. Either way, the impending hire of Rich Rodriguez would have either resulted in a transfer for Clausen or a square peg in a round hole for a few years. In fact, none of these players would have fit what Rodriguez wanted to do, so it’s quite possible that a commitment from any of the four would have resulted in a very similar situation for Rodriguez.
Biggest bust: Paulus. Ultimately, Paulus didn’t find success at any level. As the #82 prospect in the country, he threw only 13 passes in his FBS college career.
Best in class: Cam Newton. The 2007 class was surprisingly devoid of any surefire stud quarterbacks, and even Newton had some bumps in the road before finding success (legal trouble at Florida, playing at Blinn Community College, an ineligibility investigation). However, Newton became a Heisman winner, a national champion, a #1 draft pick, and is having a solid career for the Carolina Panthers. Other options include Ryan Tannehill, Nick Foles, and Kellen Moore.