"The Sanchize" is headed back to college.
Mark Sanchez, the former Jets quarterback, has retired from the NFL and will join ESPN as a college football studio analyst, the network announced Tuesday.
Sanchez will be in studio throughout ABC's tripleheaders every Saturday and also will appear on other ESPN shows, including College Football Live and Get Up!, throughout the season. The USC product replaces Mack Brown, who returned to the sidelines this season to coach North Carolina. Sanchez joins Kevin Negandhi and former Jet Jon Vilma in the studio.
“Mark will be making an immediate transition from the field to the studio, allowing him to provide viewers a perspective that is in-concert with the current game,” ESPN senior vice president of production Lee Fitting said in a statement issued by the network. “Succeeding within a high-pressure media market at USC, and then in the NFL, provided on-the-job training for the next chapter of Mark’s career, which we are thrilled will be with us at ESPN. That media experience, combined with his on the field success – playing in-and-winning numerous high profile matchups including the 2009 Rose Bowl Game, adding to USC’s rich quarterback heritage, and leading an NFL team to multiple Conference Championships – is a recipe for success as an analyst.”
Sanchez only started one season at USC, but it was a great one. He threw for 3,207 yards, 34 touchdowns and 10 interceptions on 65.8 percent passing as the Trojans won the Rose Bowl. Sanchez was named Rose Bowl MVP after going 28-for-35 with 413 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions. He declared for the draft after that season, prompting then-head coach Pete Carroll to publicly question whether Sanchez was ready for the NFL.
Sanchez was hailed as the Jets' answer at quarterback after the team traded up to pick him No. 5 overall in the 2009 NFL Draft. Despite mediocre stats, his career started off promising as the Jets reached the AFC Championship Game in each of his first two seasons behind a stingy defense and a strong running game.
Sanchez's best season came in 2011, when he threw for 3,474 yards, 26 touchdowns and 18 interceptions, but he regressed the following year, prompting the Jets to bench him for Greg McElroy — who now also works as an analyst for ESPN, on the SEC Network — and then draft Geno Smith in the second round in 2013.
Sanchez's Jets career came to a crashing halt during the 2013 preseason when he injured his shoulder in the fourth quarter against the Giants. Head coach Rex Ryan said that his team was "there to win" despite Sanchez being the only starter left in the game. Sanchez missed the entire season and was released the following offseason.
He spent the next two years with the Eagles as a backup to Nick Foles, starting 10 games in that timespan. After that, he bounced around the league as a backup for the Broncos, Cowboys, Bears and Redskins, but only saw game action with Dallas and Washington.