As a kid growing up in the football-crazy state of Texas, Rhett Bomar dreamed of making a name for himself in high-stakes January bowl games. As he played out various fictional postseason scenarios in the friendly confines of his back yard, the fledgling young quarterback always found some dramatic path to victory.
Such success, he believed, was his destiny. At virtually every stage of his football career, Bomar lived up to and often surpassed expectations. He was bold, confident, a fierce competitor and a natural born on-the-field leader.
His unmistakable skills and high football IQ made Bomar a can't-miss college prospect with an almost-certain NFL future. His good looks and charming persona further heightened his popularity, both on and off the field.
He was the golden boy with the golden arm. And he was loving every minute of it.
As a prep senior in 2003, he was recruited by basically every major college football program in the country, before eventually narrowing his choices down to Oklahoma, Texas and Florida State. In the end, he picked the Sooners.
He had hoped to immediately compete for the starting job, but Jason White's decision to return for one final season quashed that idea. So Bomar redshirted in 2004 and set his sights on the not-too-distant future.
DISAPPOINTING ROOKIE CAMPAIGN
After spending a year further honing his skills in White's shadow, Bomar emerged as the team's starting QB, but the 2005 season did not go exactly as planned, as a home loss to Texas Christian in the opener set the tone for a disappointing rookie campaign.
The Sooners finished 8-4 that season, but with a maturing Bomar under center and star running back Adrian Peterson carrying the offensive load, the future looked bright. Early 2006 preseason polls had OU ranked as high as No. 4, and nothing seemed impossible " even a national championship.
But just a few weeks shy of the '06 season opener, Bomar was suddenly and shockingly dismissed from the team after it was discovered he accepted payments for work he did not do at a Norman car dealership where he was employed.
Despite all of Bomar's talent and promise, the violation of NCAA rules left OU coach Bob Stoops with no choice but to let him go. And while no one could have imagined it at the time, Bomar's departure opened the door for a kid named Sam Bradford.
Meanwhile, Bomar quietly apologized, knowing he was responsible for taking a wrecking ball to his own dreams. He transferred to tiny Sam Houston State, and after sitting out a season, resumed his collegiate career with the Bearkats in 2007.
Sam Houston finished just 4-6 this season with Bomar at the helm, but that didn't stop the talented signal caller from earning second team All-Southland Conference honors for his performance. In fact, Bomar rewrote most of the Bearkats' record book for passing, finishing his career as the school's all-time leader in passing and total offense.
A few weeks ago, Bomar accepted an invitation to play in the East-West Shrine Game on Jan. 17 in Houston. Last week, he was selected to play in the Senior Bowl Jan. 24.
Those appearances aren't traditional bowl games, but they provide a chance to raise his stock with NFL scouts " a positive, but not exactly what Bomar had in mind in his back yard all those years ago. "Jay C. Upchurch