Matt Leinart describes life as a young celebrity athlete during the USC football dynasty

Stardom is not easy to handle for most athletes. When stardom arrives during one’s years at college, the intensity of the spotlight and the enormity of sudden fame can be overpowering. Matt Leinart was a quick study at USC. He learned to handle the limelight and live in it. The proof is in the results.

Leinart stepped right into the starting spot at USC at age 20. He was thrust into the fire and was able to calmly lead the Trojans to a decisive win at Auburn on national television. Leinart wasn’t spectacular that day in Alabama — the USC defense was the star of the show — but Leinart did nothing to put USC in danger. He made smart, controlled plays and provided rock-solid leadership everyone else in the huddle noticed. Leinart’s strong, composed presence was an anchor for a 2003 USC team which slammed Michigan in the 2004 Rose Bowl to win a share of the national championship. Leinart would eventually win 34 straight games at USC, capturing two national titles and making two BCS championship game appearances.

Here is a video of Leinart recalling young-age stardom:

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Story originally appeared on Trojans Wire