:Stats8 games played, 36 of 69 completions for 388 yards, 5.6 yards/attempt, 3 touchdowns, five interceptions, 99.26 rating
What Stood Out:If there’s one thing we know Max Wittek can do, it’s throw the deep ball. His cannon of a throwing arm has been heralded since he enrolled at USC, and this year we got to see it first-hand. In his first career start, he heaved a beautiful pass to Marqise Lee who caught it for 53 yards. Wittek has also shown to be a little more fluid under pressure than Barkley was more often than not, scrambling a bit when necessary for extra yards. He is still developing, and with another spring and more in-game experience under his belt, he could very easily be the next face of the Trojan football program.
:What Needed Work: Chalk it up to still being green, but for as powerful as Wittek’s arm is, he wasn’t incredibly accurate in either of his two starts in 2012. Against both Georgia Tech and Notre Dame he overthrew his targets, either placing it too high or too far out of reach. Even more annoying than that is the fact that Wittek stares down his receivers so that opposing defenses, the fans in the stadium, and those watching at home all know where he is throwing. He struggles with looking off his targets, or looking beyond the hot route at all. As a result, he threw two more picks than touchdowns in his two starts. Barkley also had this bad habit in the early stages of his career with SC, but he eventually learned to shake it. Wittek can easily do the same, but if he doesn’t prove to be reliable, fellow backup redshirt freshman QB Cody Kessler could usurp him as the starter in 2013.
Final Word:Wittek has all the tools and pedigree to be the next big USC QB. He has spent two seasons learning the ropes under Barkley and now just needs room to spread his wings and soar. His next challenge will be competing with Kessler for the job again this spring, and this time, the winner plays for keeps.