The recent quarterback competition at USC has been one of the most discussed topics ever since the Trojans’ horrific season came to a close.
With Matt Barkley gone, the Trojans now have 3 solid quarterbacks all fighting for the number one spot: Max Wittek, Cody Kessler and Max Browne.
USC fans were hoping that Coach Kiffin would name his starter during spring football, but that didn’t happen. In fact, his decision got much harder because all 3 quarterbacks did well and fought hard to earn the starting position.
After Barkley’s injury against UCLA, Kiffin started Max Wittek at the QB position. In his 2 starts after Barkley’s injury, one which included the Sun Bowl, Wittek threw for 293 yards and recorded 2 touchdowns and 5 interceptions. Kessler, on the other hand, never started a game last year. He saw action for two downs in which he recorded a total of 9 yards.
Going into Spring Football the competition was wide open. However, the competition grew more intense when 5-star recruit and Gatorade National Football Player of the Year Max Browne left school early in order to participate in spring camp with the Trojans.
In USC’s Spring Football Game on April 13 all three quarterbacks had a chance to showcase their talent, work ethic and leadership to the coaches. At the end of the game, Cody Kessler had the most impressive performance. He finished with 242 yards, completing 15/22 passes and recording 3 touchdowns. Wittek went 12-17 and recorded 145 yards, 2 touchdowns and 2 interceptions—not the performance he wanted the coaches to see. Freshman Browne also had a decent game with a 64% completion percentage, 80 passing yards, 1 touchdown and 1 interception. But these results were not sufficient for Kiffin to name a starter. The Trojan Nation will have to wait a bit longer to find out who will be Barkley’s predecessor and begin the quest for a successful season.
If you thought the quarterback competition at USC was the only topic involving USC quarterbacks, think again! Kiffin and the USC football program aren’t only thinking about the present situation. They’re looking ahead. That’s right! They have already begun recruiting quarterbacks for the 2014 class. But why would they do that? They already have three solid quarterbacks who could be starters for any other college football team. But the Trojans never pass on an opportunity to offer a spot for someone who deserves it.
So far the Trojans have offered one high school quarterback a scholarship: Keller Chryst. Chryst is 6’3’’, 215 lbs. and is a pro-style quarterback who will fit perfectly with the Trojans. However, the Trojans don’t have a guarantee from Chryst, who has many offers, but is highly considering Stanford, Pittsburgh, Alabama and USC as his most likely destinations. With the plethora of talented quarterbacks at USC, Chryst might choose to go to a school where he will have the highest chance to play as soon as possible and USC might not be the place, especially with Browne in the mix.
Another quarterback USC has set their sight on is Brandon Dawkins. Dawkins is a 6’4’’, 215 lb. quarterback from Oaks Christian High School in California. Dawkins has already received offers from a ton of schools, including Notre Dame, Utah and N.C. State. However, if USC offers him a scholarship, it’s highly likely that he will choose to be a Trojan.
If both Chryst and Dawkins decide to come to USC, the Trojans will have 5 scholarship quarterbacks on their roster in 2014, assuming Kessler and Wittek don’t declare for the NFL Draft. So why are the Trojans offering scholarships to these quarterbacks? The answer may not be clear, but there might be one reason why: security. What do I mean by this? Well, let’s take a look.
Eventually, Kiffin will have to name a starter, which means two of Kessler, Wittek and Browne will become backups. This theory doesn’t necessarily involve Browne because he can redshirt, but it’s a likely outcome for one of Kessler or Wittek. For example, if Kessler is named the starter, Wittek can decide that he has a chance of being a starter for another college football team and decide to leave USC. If that happens, there will be 2 scholarship quarterbacks left with Chryst and Dawkins possibly joining the team the following year. It’s too early to tell what will happen, but it’s always good to be prepared for the worst.
With the 2013-2014 season approaching, the quarterback drama at USC continues…