By Michael Casagrande, firstname.lastname@example.org
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Coming from the land of hooked horns, Alabama quarterback Greg McElroy knows quite a bit about Texas, the Crimson Tide's opponent in the Jan. 7 BCS national championship game.
The McElroy family moved from Los Angeles to a Dallas suburb when Greg was 10, before his athletic ability bloomed. Considering himself more of a native Texan than a Californian, McElroy surely grew up dreaming of wearing burnt orange and playing for the Longhorns, right?
Well, not exactly.
He was more of a Texas Tech fan and even committed to the Red Raiders before signing with the Tide. There was a time, though, when Texas recruited the quarterback who didn't start until his senior season at powerhouse Southlake Carroll.
"They recruited me for a good majority of the process, I'd say, and it came down to me and a couple of guys," McElroy said. "I think they wanted more of a mobile guy."
McElroy was never offered a Texas scholarship. The athletic Sherrod Harris got one, and Jevan Snead snatched up the other.
"I didn't get much of a look, but I got enough of a look for them to decide that they didn't want me," McElroy said with a laugh, adding that he holds no grudge for the snub.
Harris is third on the Longhorns' depth chart. Snead sat the bench a season before transferring to Ole Miss.
When asked Monday about his memory of McElroy's recruitment, Texas coach Mack Brown said he didn't recall much. He did remember the incredible crop of quarterbacks who came from the state that year; that was the subject of a recent Sports Illustrated report. Although not all graduated from high school the same year as McElroy, there are 22 starting Football Bowl Subdivision quarterbacks -- or 18 percent of the 120 total -- from Texas.
Talking about McElroy and the other Alabama starter from Texas, senior linebacker Eryk Anders from San Antonio, Brown expressed some regret while joking about the state's fertile ground for high school talent.
"They're both really good players. We should have taken both of them," Brown said. "They're really good players and playing really well. It's the same thing around here. Every time you look up, there is one we should have taken. There are 375. I'm appealing the NCAA to see if we can get 375 scholarships available each year. And that's the only way to correct who we're going to play against."
In a recent trip home to Southlake, McElroy saw a number of local fans who wished him well to a degree.
"It was pretty goodhearted stuff like, 'I hope you do good, but hook 'em, Horns,'" McElroy related with a chuckle. "It's one of those things, you really don't want to hear that, you know: 'I'm a Texas fan, but I hope you do good.' Just tell me you're a Texas fan."
He is looking forward to seeing three Longhorns from Southlake Carroll at Pasadena, but he isn't dwelling on his personal connections. He cares more about fixing the issues Alabama teams of the past had against Texas.
McElroy is well aware of Alabama's 0-7-1 record against the Longhorns, even though the last meeting took place a few years before his birth.