Since the Trojans signed Max Wittek and Cody Kessler, the rumor mill regarding Jess Scroggins has been churning at top speed. The former Lakewood Lancer was injured during fall camp, losing traction to the two freshman, and recent reports of poor academic performance has been screaming “transfer!” for Scroggins. But, according to reports from ESPN and the Orange County Register, it’s simply not true.
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Here’s a snippet from Michael Lev’s piece on Scroggins, than ran Thursday night:
"“I will be eligible in the fall,” Scroggins said Thursday. “There’s no question about that. I will be practicing in spring, and I will still be here in the fall.” That last part, about still being at USC come fall, was a nod to persistent speculation that Scroggins will transfer. In addition to his academic troubles, he hurt his thumb last season and fell behind Cody Kessler and Max Wittek in the competition to be Matt Barkley‘s backup (and eventual successor). Scroggins has heard the rumors, and he says there’s no truth to them. “I’m a Trojan,” he said."
Pedro Moura of ESPN had this to say about Scroggins on Friday:
"Scroggins, a redshirt sophomore, fell behind the two signal-callers the year below him last season when he tore a ligament in his throwing thumb and missed significant time. Many believe those two, Cody Kessler and Max Wittek, will have the inside track to replace Barkley when he leaves for the NFL. But Kiffin has said in the past all three guys would start with a clean slate whenever that happens, and Scroggins is sticking to that. “It’s gonna start from scratch, just like everybody got here at the same time,” he said. “I feel like that’s when somebody’s gonna step up and take the reins.” As for accusations that he’s not dedicated to becoming the next quarterback at USC, Scroggins laughed. “Everybody thinks Jesse’s not serious,” he said. “But Jesse’s serious. He’s real serious. And he’s going to get that job.”"
It’s an interesting case for Scroggins, especially when you consider that USC has to be down to 75 scholarships, and still need to trim two players. Scroggins would have been perfect candidate to transfer in theory, but by him sticking around, he could become the front runner for taking over after Matt Barkley as Lane Kiffin alluded to. Scroggins has most athleticism and biggest arm of the trio of backup quarterbacks, and has more experience, as he’ll be a redshirt sophomore come the fall.
Also worth emphasizing, is the vote of confidence from coach Lane Kiffin. In the past, we’ve seen Kiffin get down on a player and ride him aggressively, as we saw with Dillon Baxter. In the end, it looked like Baxter needed the driving, but nonetheless it’s interesting to see the different approach from Kiffin. As a spectator, you have to love that, as Kiffin’s maturation in his second stint with USC has been intriguing, to say the least.