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Mark Sanchez will be the starter for the Jets

August 26, 2009 |  9:09 am

Sanchez_240 When Mark Sanchez announced after last season at USC that he was leaving school early to make himself eligible for the NFL draft, the reaction of Trojans Coach Pete Carroll was less than enthusiastic.

Carroll gave Sanchez the cold shoulder at the quarterback's news conference to publicize his decision. Later, after Sanchez's pro-day performance, Carroll changed his tune and supported his former team leader.

Now, Sanchez, the fifth overall draft pick, has shown that the move seems to have been the right one. He was named the New York Jets' starter over Kellen Clemens for the season opener Sept. 13 at Houston.

Sanchez will replace Brett Favre as the starter for the Jets and faces a tough road in the early schedule, with New England and Tennessee at home in Games 2 and 3, followed by games at New Orleans and Miami. Tough openers for a rookie quarterback who has had an up-and-down exhibition season.

Still, Sanchez will probably have some time to gain his footing, with the Jets having given him a five-year contract worth up to $60 million, $28 million guaranteed. Clearly, first-year Jets Coach Rex Ryan thinks Sanchez's decision to leave the Trojans was well-timed. 

-- Mike James

Photo: Mark Sanchez celebrates after hearing that he was drafted by the New York Jets while watching television  with friends and relatives in Irvine. Photo credit: Ken Hively / Los Angeles Times.