The tattoo story says everything about him.
Brock Osweiler had just graduated high school in Montana, which probably means the time when young men choose to celebrate with a fancy new Sage fly-fishing rod or some body ink.
He and a friend opted for the needle.
The message across Osweiler’s left inner arm: Live life to it’s Fullest.
My best guess: William Faulkner wasn’t anywhere near the tattoo shop that day, or a wayward apostrophe wouldn’t have found its way onto Osweiler’s body.
“We knew seconds after leaving that they had made a mistake,” he said. “The funny thing is, we had it spelled right, but the (woman) doing the tattoo said we were wrong and that she was an English major.
“It’s a great story. I’ve had the opportunity to change it for three years but won’t. It doesn’t bother me at all.”
He is a junior quarterback at Arizona State and a typical Montana kid, meaning incredibly polite and one who unabashedly praises his parents for the value system by which he was raised.
He doesn’t appear rattled by much, accepting the next challenge with the calmness of casting along a mountain river at dawn in hopes of snaring a wild trout.
The one he faces tonight is a bit different.
And will be a lot louder.
Osweiler is the other quarterback in the MAACO Bowl Las Vegas at Sam Boyd Stadium, the one who hasn’t won more games than any other in college football history with a 49-3 record, who doesn’t have career passing numbers of 14,374 yards and 140 touchdowns, who isn’t the first player in NCAA history to post four seasons of both 3,000 yards in total offense and 3,000 yards passing.
Who isn’t Kellen Moore.
“I never back down from anyone or any team,” Osweiler said. “That’s how I have always been. Playing against Kellen is an honor and a blessing. What he has done in college is unbelievable and will be remembered by people for a number of years.
“But I am very excited about the opportunity. I’ve never doubted myself as an athlete in any sport. I’m looking forward to playing against Kellen.”
Osweiler also has a tattoo on his right arm. It reads: Leave Your Legacy.
What better way to begin than by beating Moore in his final game at Boise State?
There is no such thing as a bad seat when you want to watch Osweiler, who at 6 feet 8 inches and 240 pounds couldn’t hide in Times Square on New Year’s Eve if he wanted. He was a good enough high school basketball player to verbally commit to Gonzaga, but he also liked throwing footballs through a tire hanging from a tree.
(Insert the backdrop of a gorgeous Montana skyline at dinner time here.)
He never stopped improving at football. Never stopped loving it.
Osweiler was one of those kids who wrote goals down on a piece of paper and hung them on his bedroom wall. One was to be a Division I-A player in either football or basketball, and he chose the former when it appeared it also could lead him to a professional career.
He is the tallest quarterback in major college football and easily can see over tall linemen, which sometimes makes it a tall order for defenses. Dan McGwire also played the position at 6-8 and was the tallest to do so in NFL history. Ryan Mallett is a backup for the Patriots at 6-7.
But you don’t see someone as big and athletic as Osweiler under center often. He gets the footwork from basketball, and the rest of his skill has been good enough for him to throw for 4,687 yards and 31 touchdowns in three years.
The scary part: Until this season, he had started just two games at Arizona State.
“He’s a very competitive guy,” said Dennis Erickson, who will coach his final game for the Sun Devils tonight. “Brock is different than anyone in the country, a tremendous athlete who is really hard to bring down. He’s just really now learning how to play. He’ll get better and better every game he plays. He will have a great season next year and can play in (the NFL) for a long time.
“And he’s going to go out there (tonight) and compete like heck for his team against the best quarterback in college football right now.”
Brock Osweiler isn’t Kellen Moore.
If a certain tattoo doesn’t bother him, I’m guessing that won’t, either.
Las Vegas Review-Journal sports columnist Ed Graney can be reached at email@example.com or 702-383-4618. He can be heard from 3 to 5 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday on “Monsters of the Midday,” Fox Sports Radio 920 AM. Follow him on Twitter: @edgraney.