Beverly Hills, Calif. The Texas Longhorns' drive to the national championship depended on Vince Young. So does their future.
It won't necessarily be a pass or run that makes the difference. Instead, it'll come down to a personal decision he makes with his family.
Whether the QB returns for his senior season or leaves for the NFL will have a huge impact on Texas' chances of defending its first outright national championship in 36 years.
"I'm just so proud of the work by this whole football team," Young said Thursday. "Basically, (I'll) sit down with my family members, talk with coach (Mack) Brown, a guy I truly, truly, respect .... I know that my future is pretty blessed right now."
It would be hard for Young to make a wrong decision for himself.
Leave now and he'll likely be one of the first players drafted, perhaps even the No. 1 pick overall by his hometown Houston Texans. Stay in college and Young is the front-runner for the Heisman Trophy next season.
The deadline for declaring for the draft is Jan. 15.
If he stays, pencil in the Longhorns as the 2006 preseason No. 1 and make reservations for the Fiesta Bowl, the site of the BCS title game.
The Longhorns are built to repeat their title with Young. Texas would return 14 starters, including most of an offense that averaged 51 points in 2005 and won the title by beating No. 1 Southern California 41-38 in the Rose Bowl on Wednesday night.
If he leaves, Texas is left with a lot great talent around untested freshman quarterbacks.
Young's backup this season was fifth-year senior Matt Nordgren. The only other scholarship quarterback on the roster was freshman Colt McCoy, who didn't take a snap. The Longhorns expect to sign at least one quarterback this year.
Young's stunning performance against USC showed just how hard he'd be to replace. Not just his game-record 467 total yards and three touchdowns, but his intangible leadership in crunch time.
"He's the best big-game player I've ever seen," senior tight end David Thomas said.
Brown said that he wouldn't try to pressure Young one way or another.