Best Houston-Bred Athlete About to Hit the Big Time (2005)

Vince Young

H-town gridiron cognoscenti have known about Vince Young for a long time. In 2001, the sleek, gazelle-like quarterback put his outmanned Madison High School teammates on his back and carried them on a run that saw them knock out perennial area powerhouses North Shore and Katy and ended only at the hands of state runner-up Austin Westlake. A deluge of awards both local and national flooded in after the season, and following an intense recruiting battle, Young committed to the University of Texas, where he redshirted in 2002. His electrifying play in the early-season games in 2003 won him the starting slot over veteran Chance Mock. Still, it was mainly Texas fans and hard-core football junkies who knew what the Longhorns had in Young: perhaps the most gifted running quarterback ever, and a guy who could throw a 60-yard bomb on the money on the dead run. (In short, a taller Michael Vick.) Last year Young led Texas to its best season since 1983, and though the Horns and Young couldn't derail the Oklahoma Sooners again, and scouts and various other know-it-alls decried Young's allegedly shaky passing skills, you could hear the jaws dropping from coast to coast this past New Year's Day, when Young led the Horns past the Michigan Wolverines in the Rose Bowl. Young passed for 180 yards and a TD, but what astounded the nation were his legs, the four touchdowns (including a spectacular 60-yard dazzler) and his UT single-game QB record of 192 yards. As the 2005 season rolls around, Young is an early favorite for the Heisman Trophy, and if his passing improves even a little bit, probably a potential first-round draft pick in the NFL.


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