CFB AM: Michigan got Tom Brady because USC didn't think he'd be good

Tom Brady's general career path is well-known by now: Not heavily recruited, went to Michigan, somehow was passed up in the NFL Draft until the sixth round, then became one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play football.

Lightly outlined, it's a feel-good American story about hard work and dedication leading to great success.

But not a whole lot is known about the process Brady went through to get to Michigan and begin that path.

Bleacher Report's Sanjay Kirpalani wrote a great piece on Brady's college recruitment, diving deep into how he went from a highly regarded catcher in San Mateo, Calif., to quarterback at Michigan, which I loved and recommend you read in full here.

What got me was the "marketing" process Brady, his dad and coaches all went through in the summer of 1995 to get Brady's name out there on the recruiting circuit, because it's almost unfathomable now that he'd have to concoct home videos and mail them out all over the country hoping someone would bite on his football talent.

But here he is with his high school coach, Tom MacKenzie, introducing Brady to college recruiters as a 6-foot-4, 210-pound athlete who's strong, durable and has an excellent work ethic -- and saying they have plenty of more film to send should anyone be interested.

Brady and his father listed all of the schools he'd consider attending, and then sent recruiting tapes out to 54 different programs.

There was 1994 game footage of Brady setting a Serra HS record for most completions in a game (22 at the time).

There was tape of Brady demonstrating his accuracy with slants, posts and hooks.

And there was footage of Brady showing off his arm strength.

He appropriately titled this video, "Bombs."

Brady narrowed his choice of colleges down to five -- USC, UCLA, Michigan, Cal and Illinois -- and Michigan can thank USC, in part, for getting Brady, because then-Trojans head coach John Robinson decided Brady wasn't good enough to offer a scholarship after offensive coordinator Mike Riley (now Nebraska's head coach) scouted Brady and made a push to bring him to Los Angeles (Riley was the only recruiter who traveled to watch Brady in person during his senior year, his dad says).

Think that one still stings Trojans fans?

Check out the full piece on Brady's recruitment. It's a fun read.


UCLA loses Myles Jack for the season. UCLA's star linebacker suffered a knee injury in practice on Tuesday and will be out for the rest of the season. It's a huge blow for a Bruins defense that has already lost lineman Eddie Vanderdoes and cornerback Fabian Moreau (although they also got back corner Ishmael Adams, who was reinstated from suspension after being arrested and accused of stealing a Uber driver's cellphone), and it comes right before a tough trip to Arizona, which might be getting its own injured stud linebacker back in Scooby Wright. I don't feel good about the Bruins winning in Tucson on Saturday night.

The latest Ohio State QB buzz. This is the storyline that will not die. Urban Meyer said Cardale Jones is still the starting QB for the Buckeyes and will be "unless he doesn't perform well." There's clearly pressure on Jones to play better than he has, but J.T. Barrett hasn't done enough in his opportunities yet to force Meyer to make a permanent change. For readers: What should Meyer do at quarterback? Is it time to pick one guy and back him completely?

Jake Olson got his first live snap at USC practice. Olson, the blind long snapper at USC, got his first live practice action and is working towards appearing in games. Steve Sarkisian said USC will have a "mutual agreement" with the opponent when Olson does get into games to snap, but Olson says he doesn't want any special treatment in order to get him on the field. He's just another guy on the team -- a freshman at that -- and wants to earn his time. Cool story that keeps getting better.

Nick Saban filed an Ole Miss complaint. People will mock Saban and tell him to stop complaining, but he has a legitimate gripe about the pop-pass TD Ole Miss scored on against the Tide, where the Rebels had an offensive lineman blocking about five yards down the field. The rule states that linemen can be no more than three yards down the field on pass plays, which never seems to be enforced and has every coach in America confused. One way or another, the rule needs to be cleaned up and that's what Saban's formal complaint filed to the SEC office is about.


* Auburn fans have a lot of reasons to be hopeful about new starting quarterback Sean White, writes Bruce Feldman. One comp thrown out by an Elite 11 coach who worked with White is "Andy Dalton but better." Dalton would look like John Elway to Auburn fans right now.

* Florida quarterback Treon Harris and defensive back Jalen Tabor have been suspended for the Tennessee game. Harris is the backup behind Will Grier, but Tabor is the Gators' most talented DB. The time is now for the Vols, who've lost 10 straight to Florida, to snap the streak.

Have a great Thursday, everybody.

Teddy Mitrosilis works in social content development at FOX Sports Digital. Follow him on Twitter @TMitrosilis and email him at

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Clay Travis is the founder of the fastest growing national multimedia platform, OutKick, that produces and distributes engaging content across sports and pop culture to millions of fans across the country. OutKick was created by Travis in 2011 and sold to the Fox Corporation in 2021. One of the most electrifying and outspoken personalities in the industry, Travis hosts OutKick The Show where he provides his unfiltered opinion on the most compelling headlines throughout sports, culture, and politics. He also makes regular appearances on FOX News Media as a contributor providing analysis on a variety of subjects ranging from sports news to the cultural landscape. Throughout the college football season, Travis is on Big Noon Kickoff for Fox Sports breaking down the game and the latest storylines. Additionally, Travis serves as a co-host of The Clay Travis and Buck Sexton Show, a three-hour conservative radio talk program syndicated across Premiere Networks radio stations nationwide. Previously, he launched OutKick The Coverage on Fox Sports Radio that included interviews and listener interactions and was on Fox Sports Bet for four years. Additionally, Travis started an iHeartRadio Original Podcast called Wins & Losses that featured in-depth conversations with the biggest names in sports. Travis is a graduate of George Washington University as well as Vanderbilt Law School. Based in Nashville, he is the author of Dixieland Delight, On Rocky Top, and Republicans Buy Sneakers Too.