A Story on Masoli, some interesting stuff in here![url=http://www.sfgate.com/sports/article/Jeremiah-Masoli-plays-in-CFL-while-hoping-for-6023059.php]http://www.sfgate.com/sports/article/Je ... 023059.php[/url]
[b]Five years ago, Oregon quarterback Jeremiah Masoli was in maybe the best position in college football.
He was the centerpiece of Oregon’s high-powered offense that was preparing to play Ohio State in the Rose Bowl, he had access to Chip Kelly’s genius, and the Ducks had surrounded him with explosive talent. The next year, though, Oregon made it to the national championship game without him.
Months after losing to the Buckeyes in the Rose Bowl, he, along with another player, pleaded guilty to second-degree burglary of a fraternity house. He was suspended indefinitely and later dismissed from the team after the police found marijuana in his car.
This month, prior to Oregon and Ohio State playing for the national championship, Masoli hunched over a plate of pancakes at a restaurant outside San Francisco, not far from where he lives with his parents, and reminisced.
He is 26 now and set to begin his fourth year in the Canadian Football League this summer, as a backup quarterback for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. He seemed aware that his shot at getting a second chance at the NFL is dwindling. He agreed to be interviewed partly because he will be a free agent at the end of the season.
He spoke as if he were using talking points aimed at NFL general managers. He said he had matured in the past four years. He referenced a Sports Illustrated article multiple times, one that cast doubt on whether Masoli had been involved in the robbery. The article indicated that Masoli pleaded guilty because if he went to trial and lost he would have faced mandatory jail time.
“I’ve learned my lesson from that,? he said twice. “Just having it all taken away because I was at the wrong place at the wrong time. ... I’ve grown a lot.?
Still, his past keeps following him. He is not sure how much his exit from Oregon has affected his NFL chances. People ask him about the 2010 Rose Bowl, and he feels a twinge of regret.
Masoli still follows Oregon from afar. He watched this year’s Rose Bowl and was impressed with how Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota carved up the Florida State Seminoles, running essentially the same spread offense Masoli had run to near perfection.
“It’s his poise,? Masoli said. “He’s the same on every play, whether it’s the first play or whether it’s the last play of the game. His head is screwed on straight, and he’s never going to change. You don’t see him blowing up, or getting frustrated or rattled. And if he does, he doesn’t show it on his face. That’s what impresses me.?
Mariota’s boy-next-door image is perhaps the antithesis of Masoli’s image. Oregon coach Mark Helfrich said he was being selective in the type of players he recruited, trying to distance the program from its off-field history of problems — including charges of domestic violence, burglary, assault and drunken driving.
“I don’t want to recruit a guy and go, 'Oh God, I’ve got to go spend another two hours with this guy in practice,’ and have to motivate him to do the right thing,? said Helfrich, who replaced Kelly as coach in 2013.
Masoli’s entire family cheers on Mariota now. The two quarterbacks do have a lot in common. They are both part Samoan. They both played at Oregon. They both attended St. Louis, an all-boys parochial high school in Honolulu.
Masoli credited Vinnie Passas, the same quarterback coach who groomed Mariota, as the first person who truly taught him the position and how to read defenses. Passas’ run-and-shoot offense opened Masoli’s eyes to how fun it could be playing quarterback.
“Just being around him on the football field, I never expected anything like that,? Passas said of Masoli’s troubles at Oregon. “He was a nice guy, just humble. He threw the ball well. The only thing was he didn’t have Marcus’ height and Marcus’ speed. As far as personality-wise, I thought they were both pretty similar.?
The similarities might end there, though. Masoli, who was born in San Francisco, was expelled from Serra High in San Mateo for being involved in a strong-arm robbery and later attended St. Louis for one year. He spent time in a juvenile facility, and then his father, Kennedy, moved him to Hawaii and sent him to St. Louis to gain discipline.
His route to Oregon was circuitous, too. Masoli spent two years at the City College of San Francisco, where his younger brother, Zachariah, just finished his first season as a backup. The elder Masoli won the 2007 state championship and mythical national title before transferring.
Masoli never quite had the same kind of success his two seasons at Oregon as Mariota. In the 2009 season, when he led Oregon to a 10-3 record, he completed 177 of 305 passes for 2,147 yards and 15 touchdowns. He also ran for 13 scores.
Once Masoli was dismissed from the team, he played one season at Mississippi, throwing for 14 touchdowns with 13 interceptions. He went undrafted the next year, signed with the 49ers and was released before the end of training camp.
Masoli said the Seattle Seahawks showed interest in him playing another position, running back maybe, which would have been logical. He is listed at 5-foot-11, and shorter quarterbacks are often asked to switch positions. But Masoli refused.
He has spent the past few years working for another shot. He is still only a backup. In limited playing time last season, he completed 21 of 45 passes for 293 yards and a touchdown.
The Tiger-Cats appear high on him. They extended his contract through next season, which will end around late November. (A spokesman for the team said Masoli’s coaches were unavailable for comment because they were on vacation.)
Masoli changed agents last year, and he said his new one is putting out feelers. Last season, he spent three days a week watching extra film with one of his coaches in Hamilton. He emphasized that he was surrounding himself with the right people now. If he carried any resentment toward Oregon, it did not show.[/b]