Wed Feb 02 10:47am EST
We interrupt your regularly scheduled national signing day extravaganza to bring you the latest, most sordid chapter in the tale of a former blue-chip gone wrong: Outgoing USC quarterback Mitch Mustain, once hailed as one the most coveted high school passers in the nation, was arrested by the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department Tuesday night, reportedly on suspicion of selling prescription narcotics. He has been charged with an unspecified felony and was being held in a Van Nuys, Calif., jail on $30,000 bail.
Almost five years ago to the day, Mustain signed with Arkansas as the homegrown hero, as hyped as any prospect the state had ever produced, along with three of his favorite Springdale High receivers and their coach, Gus Malzahn, the Razorbacks' new offensive coordinator. Within a year, Mustain and Malzahn had both been effectively driven out of the state, along with former Springdale receiver Damien Williams, who helped sell Mustain on a transfer to USC in 2007.
Unlike Williams, though, Mustain spent four years in L.A. toiling behind a succession of blue chips who came with even more hype than he had: First John David Booty, then Mark Sanchez, then Matt Barkley. Mustain stuck it out., eventually starting a single game, a 20-16 loss to Notre Dame in the final home date of his career last November.
A little over two months later, instead of preparing for the draft or a tryout – or for a normal career that doesn't involve being targeted by 280-pound freaks of nature – ahead of his 23rd birthday, he's Inmate No. 2573856. Whatever happened (or didn't happen) on the field, or with the fans in his home state, no "fallen star" story has to come to that.
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Matt Hinton is on Twitter: Follow him @DrSaturday.