Note: Quarterback Max Wittek ended up announcing he would transfer after this article was written.
With a little over a week to go before the 2014 National Signing Day, USC got a big commit— for the 2015 class.
He may have committed a year before the deadline, but the 5-star quarterback was not the first.
Way back in 2010, Lane Kiffin got then-13-year-old David Sills’ commitment to the Trojans. That makes Town neither the first commit nor the first quarterback in the class.
Interestingly enough, Town, who reportedly dreamed of becoming a USC quarterback as a kid, committed to Alabama instead of USC. After former Alabama offensive coordinator, Doug Nussmeier, left for Michigan and Kiffin took his place, Town flipped to USC. Infer what you want from that.
Ricky Town currently stands at #9 in the Rivals 100 Rankings. He is the #2 quarterback prospect in the nation and #3 prospect in California. Other recruiting websites vary on the rankings, but he remains in the top 10 and the first or second quarterback of the class. His peer, Sills is one star short, with no overall and state ranking. Sills is the #12 prospect at the quarterback position.
According to Town’s listed weight information, he could probably stand to gain a few pounds. If the height and weight are accurate, he measures to be both shorter and lighter than Browne. With the amount of quarterback depth USC could have by the time he enrolls, Town would probably just redshirt his first season,. That would give him plenty of time to put on some weight.
Come the fall of 2015, USC could have as many as six quarterbacks on scholarship, mirroring the running back situation from 2013. Max Wittek and Cody Kessler would both be redshirt seniors if they choose to stay to that point. Max Browne, another 5-star quarterback, would be a redshirt sophomore by then and Jalen Greene would be either a redshirt freshman or sophomore. Add on Sills and Town, and USC’s quarterback position could be the deepest of the 2015 roster.
Having that many on the roster would not be very useful, since having a quarterback rotation is generally more hurtful than helpful. Even though USC will be back to 25 initial scholarships and 85 total scholarships by 2015, taking two quarterbacks in 2015 is probably not the best idea when they have so many other areas of need.
That’s probably just a crazy “what if” scenario, though. Realistically, if Max Wittek cannot win the starting job for 2014, he may transfer somewhere else to get playing time. Furthermore, with the commitment of Town, Sills may reevaluate his commitment and ultimately decide to go somewhere else. With the crazy way recruiting is, both could still perceivably renege on their commitment.
Perhaps Sills will end up going to Alabama.
Joking aside (Sills does not even have a scholarship offer from Alabama), USC looks to be loaded at the quarterback spot for the coming years. All but one of the quarterbacks are the traditional type, with only Greene as the dual threat.
With so many traditional pro-style quarterbacks in USC’s arsenal, it seems unlikely for them to move towards popular zone read and designed quarterback run concepts. Suppose Greene wins the starting job outright and the offense begins to utilize a number of quarterback draws and option plays. An even larger majority of the offense would rest in the quarterback’s hands— and exposing him to more chances of injury. If he ended up going down in middle of a game, the offensive gameplan could likely go out with him. The next second string quarterback would probably not be able to find the same success at running the ball.
It would be interesting to find out what Steve Sarkisian has planned for Greene. Is Greene doomed to a life on the scout team, pretending to be opposing dual threat quarterbacks— or is Sarkisian actually grooming him to be the future of USC quarterbacks one step at a time?