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Southern Cal alumnus Sanchez named N.Y. Jets’ Starter

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By Paul Arnold

It was but a mild surprise that Mark Sanchez was named starting quarterback by coach Rex Ryan on Wednesday, making him the first rookie in Jets history slated to open a season under center. Ryan announced the decision after he met with Sanchez and Kellen Clemens early Wednesday morning and informed them of his decision. “I feel that the best move for our franchise and for our team is to go with Mark as our quarterback,” Ryan said. “That’s not a slight to Kellen Clemens at all. I think we can win with Kellen also as a quarterback, but right now I think Mark gives us the best opportunity to win…” Ryan told reporters afterward.

Sanchez, the fifth overall draft pick out of Southern Cal, is scheduled to make his regular-season debut at Houston on Sept. 13. “This comes with a lot of responsibility,” he said. “As happy as I am, I know that this is just the beginning and I’m just excited, really excited, to get to play with such great players.”

The Jets traded up in the draft to acquire the fifth overall pick from Cleveland, fairly quickly signing Sanchez to a five-year deal that included $28 million guaranteed.

Sanchez has looked like a rookie at times in camp and pre-season, but Entertainer sources tell us that he also showed the toughness and short memory required at that position in the NFL. Plus rookies Q.B.’s who have stepped up to effectively lead their teams in recent history (see Joe Flacco and Matt Ryan) have helped in the copy-cat league that is the NFL, to convince coaches that the normal ‘hold the clipboard-training-up period’ no longer applies to some.

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