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Tales from the Trail: Honesty most important in Scott Tinsley's recruitment

by Berry Tramel Modified: January 26, 2011 at 11:54 am •  Published: January 25, 2011

USC didn't mislead Scott Tinsley. The Trojans never told Tinsley it never rains in southern California, but the Trojans did tell the Putnam West quarterback he might never even play.

“If you come, you may never see the field,” USC quarterback coach Paul Hackett told Tinsley back in winter 1977-78.

Tinsley took it as a challenge. “I'll show you,” he said to himself.

One of the most ballyhooed quarterbacks in Oklahoma history — recruited by the likes of Notre Dame, LSU, Arkansas and Arizona State — settled on the Trojans. But not for the glitz and glamour.

Sure, Tinsley sat with O.J. Simpson and Anthony Davis at a luncheon during his official visit. And went to a USC alumni baseball game that featured Tom Seaver and Dave Kingman (Dave Kingman?). But the next day it rained, and Tinsley wasn't all that thrilled with Los Angeles.

Yet Tinsley didn't want to go to OU, since the Sooners ran the wishbone, and didn't want to go to OSU, even though his former PC West defensive coordinator, Bill Young, had joined the staff, since the Cowboys' football fortunes weren't much at the time.

So Tinsley signed with Southern Cal. “I just felt I got a good dose of honesty,” he said of Hackett's declaration. “He was almost right, too.”

Tinsley played behind Paul McDonald, John Mazur and Sean Salisbury but started six games in his career, going 4-2, with two victories over Notre Dame and two losses to UCLA.

And Tinsley never left. He still makes his home in Greater LA.

by Berry Tramel
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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