USC Football: Jesse Scroggins is a Victim of the Depth Chart


Last week, we addressed the rumors of Jesse Scroggins’ departure from USC and speculated that academics played a role in the quarterback’s apparent adieu. But yesterday, news came out of USC that all of the Trojans within the football program were academically eligible for the 2012 season, which turns the Scroggins situation upside down, possibly suggesting that football reasons or internal conflict could play role in the rumored drama surrounding him, but we’re not going to waste our time speculating, as there simply isn’t any news floating around him that is concrete.

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Nonetheless, it’s easy to point out that Scroggins is a victim to the depth chart, as whether he is/was eligible or not to play in 2012, it’s hard to see him ever taking a snap as a starting quarterback at USC in 2012, 2013 or 2014.

Last fall, Scroggins injured his thumb, causing Lane Kiffin to go into ultra-protection mode and name walk-on John Manoogian second on the depth chart behind Matt Barkley in an attempt to save the redshirts of Cody Kessler and Max Wittek. With Scroggins out, Kessler and Wittek took over the battle of the true No. 2, a battle that’s taken place since then and will seemingly go on well into the fall and next spring as the Trojans try to find the replacement for Barkley.

Kessler and Wittek have put so much time in compared to Scroggins, that beating them out is an extreme long shot for the former Lakewood Lancer, not to mention that top ranked quaterback Max Browne enters the fray next spring. Thus, more rationale for Scroggins for depart, regardless of academics.

Plus, the irony here, is that Scroggins had a perfect opportunity to position himself as the rightful suitor to Barkley, before Kessler and Wittek came to USC last spring. With Matt Barkley suffering a leg injury late in the 2010 season, had the Trojans been eligible for the 2010 Holiday Bowl, Scroggins would have had a month of first team reps to prepare for the game. In addition to SC’s bowl ban hampering Scroggins in 2010, and an injury in 2011 getting in the way, the much ballyhooed academic issues in 2012 saw him miss nearly all of spring camp, further falling behind Kessler and Wittek.

With the Trojans allowed just 75 scholarships, each scholarship is vital, to say the least. As of now, with Scroggins still on the roster, the Trojans stand at 76 scholarship players. Look at the depth chart, do the math, and figure out what needs to happen, not only for the future of the Trojans, but the progression and success of Scroggins.

Given his raw talent and position on the USC depth chart, it would seem that a wise scenario for Scroggins would be to enroll in a junior college in the fall to build up more confidence in the classroom and the football field, before transferring to a Division 1-FBS program next spring, with two years of elgibility left. The writing is on the wall, and a trend of transferring to and from a JuCo is starting to take off, especially after the success of Cam Newton, who played sandwiched a junior college season between stints at Florida and Auburn.

Regardless of what happens with Scroggins, someone’s gotta go for the Trojans to hit the limit of 75 scholarship players. As tough as it is to see Scroggins struggle with a bunch of tough breaks, he’s just the logical odd man out for USC.