Tim Tebow has become a national phenomenon but the player whom experts projected to be a better college quarterback is working at a car dealership with sights on joining the military.
Life doesn't always go as planned.
Mitch Mustain, 23, once considered the next big thing, made a grand total of nine starts in college at two schools. He ended up arrested while in college and went undrafted by the NFL. Mustain has one last shot at pro football.
After throwing for an Arkansas state record 3,817 yards in 2005, Mustain was named the USA Today Parade magazine national player of the year, AHEAD of some guy named Tebow. Mustain, with six high school teammates, followed his high school coach Gus Malzahn to the University of Arkansas.
After just one season and eight straight victories in place of an injured Casey Dick, Mustain lost his starting job. Malzahn, currently the offensive coordinator at Auburn, left Arkansas for a job at Tulsa and Mustain wanted out. He ended up transferring to Southern California to play for coach Pete Carroll, where he was stuck behind Mark Sanchez and Matt Barkley.
Mustain started one game for the Trojans when Barkley was injured, and USC lost 20-16 to Notre Dame.
Instead of transferring, Mustain stayed at USC and founded a campus Bible study group with teammate Damian Williams. The quarterback also had problems studying. "I was diagnosed with ADHD," Mustain said. "I was struggling with things I used to succeed at easily. I started the medication, and I could go out and focus on the little details and get a grip on things that had been troubling me."
Mustain says he got his confidence back after that Notre Dame game, and he stopped taking his ADHD medication, Vyanse. He attempted to earn some extra cash by selling it illegally. "I decided I could make a decent chunk of change selling it, and I was caught," Mustain told the USA TODAY. He ended up being arrested, but never charged for the crime.
Since graduating with a major in International Relations from Southern California, Mustain couldn't get a tryout in the NFL because of the lockout. He took a 10-day tryout contract with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the CFL in June. After not picking up the offense fast enough, Mustain was sent packing.
For the time being, he's working at a buddy's car dealership in Bentonville, Ark. Last summer, Mustain applied to Marine Officer Candidates School. He's put the military on hold for a chance to tryout next March with the Arena Football League's Georgia Force.
Despite his rocky road in football, Mustain claims he wouldn't change anything.