Apr 13, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Southern California Trojans quarterback Max Wittek (13) during the spring game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Four days into fall camp and with players made available to the media, both Cody Kessler and Max Wittek fielded questions surrounding their battle to be named the starting quarterback for the men of Troy and subsequently the possibility of transferring.
On Saturday, Kessler was emphatic in saying regardless of the outcome, he did not have any intentions to transferring elsewhere. Wittek tip-toed the question a bit more, stating he does not intend to transfer, but would “cross that bridge” if necessary.
However, after practice on Monday, Wittek backtracked a bit and attempted to clarify his earlier remarks. Wittek said he “never considered it an option” and was caught offguard by the question on Saturday.
Despite what Kessler and Wittek have both publicly stated, it is hard to believe neither would transfer if they were to lose the battle to become the starting quarterback.
Traditionally, once USC names a starting quarterback, there isn’t a change, unless out of necessity due to injury. With Max Browne waiting in the wings, there doesn’t appear to be a clear path to succession for the loser of the competition.
If USC is to lose one of their redshirt sophomore signal callers, it could create an immediate depth crunch. Without completely discounting Browne, he appears to be a likely candidate to redshirt for the 2013 season and with the bigger picture in mind, that seems to be the best option. After Browne is a collection of walk-on reserves.
Looking towards the class of 2014 doesn’t necessarily provide hope for immediate relief. A few of the quarterback prospects currently targeted by USC have given their verbal pledges to other universities. While recruiting is often very fluid, relying on a player to switch his verbal pledge is a situation best avoided.
The 2015 class is considered rich in elite level talent at the quarterback position, but USC also finds itself a bit behind with those prospects as well.
With news on Monday that 2015 USC target and widely regarded No. 1 rated Ricky Town (Ventura, Calif./St. Bonaventure) gave his verbal pledge to the Alabama Crimson Tide, the Trojans have lost out on another option, at least for the time being.
Granted, USC still has a verbal pledge from fellow class of 2015 quarterback David Sills, who famously gave the Trojans his commitment in 2010 at the ripe age of 13.
USC finds itself in a precarious position as various scouts have Sills ranked behind Town and No. 2-rated Josh Rosen (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco). While USC had been in contact with Rosen for some time, it wasn’t until recently that the Trojans finally extended a scholarship offer. How it affects Rosen’s decision remains to be seen.
With regards to Sills, a recruit’s ranking isn’t the end all, be all. Rankings have been known to result in creating an infatuation with high school prospects solely based on the number of stars listed by their name and not necessarily their on-field performance or character.
As it stands, it appears as though USC and Sills remain committed to each other. How it all unfolds come February 2015 could be a different story.
On the surface, naming a quarterback for 2013 may seem like a decision that will primarily affect the upcoming season, however, that couldn’t be further from the truth. With the potential for unforeseen injuries and transfers, a position that was once considered a relative strength and primed for long-term success, could become a weakness.