Throughout college, he was a backup. Stuck behind the star quarterback his whole career, a chance at the NFL seemed unlikely.
But in 2005, the New England Patriots took a shot on former USC quarterback Matt Cassel, who went on to become a Pro Bowl quarterback for the Kansas City Chiefs.
Now Ohio State quarterback Kenny Guiton is hoping the Patriots, or any of the other 31 NFL franchises, are be willing to take a similar chance on him.
“I just want a shot,” Guiton said at OSU’s Pro Day March 7. “I don’t mind where I’m picked up at — free agency, late rounds — it doesn’t matter. I just want a shot and once you get into camp, it’s all on you.”
Guiton might just get that chance, after revealing he is scheduled for an individual workout March 26 with the same Patriots franchise that drafted Cassel nine years ago.
Even though the similarities between Guiton and Cassel might be closer, it is another Patriots quarterback who Guition said he admires.
“I look at guys like (Tom) Brady. That’s one of the biggest idols I have because he was a guy not big going in and hard work took him to the top and that’s one thing that I want to do,” Guiton said.
Although Guiton has been the backup to senior quarterback Braxton Miller for the last three seasons, he might be a step ahead of where Cassel was in 2005.
During his college career, Cassel only attempted 33 passes in four years at USC. Guiton, on the other hand, was a fan favorite at OSU, starting two games, attempting 134 passes and leading a comeback against Purdue in 2012 that preserved an undefeated season.
Guiton said even though he had some playing time in college, it wasn’t as much as other top quarterbacks.
“I felt like I haven’t had the time like other guys around the country that are getting scouted. They have plenty of film you can watch, and I don’t have much you can go off of, so I felt like I had something to prove and tried to come out with that chip on my shoulder and just come out and have fun and perform.”
Guiton was also recognized as a leader by the Buckeyes, so much so that he was named as one of eight team captains in 2013.
Classmate and wide receiver Corey “Philly” Brown went so far as to say that if he had to choose one player to play with in the NFL, it would be Guiton.
“He’s a leader,” Brown said. “I had a meeting with Miami (March 6) and I was just telling them, (the scout) asked me who I would bring to Miami with me and I told him, ‘Kenny just because he’s a leader, just everything about him. He’s a winner, he’s a good personality, he’s a dude that can bring the locker room up.’ I have a feeling he’ll make any NFL roster. He’s as good as I’ve seen throwing the ball. Every time he gets in, he produces.”
Guiton’s most productive outing came Sept. 21 against Florida A&M, when he set a single-game school record with six touchdown passes.
Although he had some success last season, Guiton was not invited to participate in the NFL Combine. But instead of dampening the Houston native’s spirit, the slight served as a form of motivation.
“I actually went down to Florida to train and met some cool guys and we’ve all been encouraging each other during the Combine that our time is coming,” Guiton said. “It’s cool to actually have this day and do good out there.”
During the season, it was rumored that Guiton could take over as a graduate assistant with the football team after his playing career was over, something he said he wanted to do at one point this season.
“I have told the coaches I want to do the coaching thing,” Guiton said Nov. 20.
But when it came down to it, Guiton said he wanted to take his best shot at a future in the NFL. But he wouldn’t rule anything out about his future in football.
“I definitely had to wrestle with it, but at the same time, it’s a dream of mine to play one day in the NFL and I would be mad at myself if I didn’t try to pursue that dream. That’s one thing I want to do,” Guiton said. “Coaching will be there. I’ll come back, I’ll be in coaching I think it’s in my heart. Football’s in my heart. I think I could do pretty good at it and I’ll be back.”
The NFL Draft is scheduled for May 8-10 at Radio City Music Hall in New York, and Guiton said he believes he will hear his name called.
“Very confident, very confident. I’m an outgoing guy so I’m going to come in, get comfortable with the people around me and I always tell people around me, ‘Once I get comfortable, get used to me because here I go.’”