After Missing on Shea Patterson, USC Should be Tate Martell or Bust


Just as expected, five-star 2016 quarterback Shea Patterson picked the Ole Miss Rebels this morning over USC and LSU.

It’s a bit of a sting for Steve Sarkisian given Patterson’s potential, but with the quarterback depth that the Trojans have, it’s not a miss that derails the 2016 recruiting class or one that needs to result in a reactionary scramble for another arm.

As RoT editor Alicia de Artola said in this morning’s SCliff Notes, next year’s quarterback battle will feature four capable players, including pro-style quarterbacks like Max Browne and Ricky Town as well as dual-threat options like Sam Darnold and Jalen Greene.

That’s plenty of depth and variety to ensure that Sarkisian not only finds the guy that suits the Trojans’ offense in the way that he likes best, but that someone will likely turn out to pay major dividends.

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It’s simply a game of numbers. Despite quarterback recruits being prone to busting, more of them mean more chances that the cupboard won’t be left with an inferior product.

And surely, the addition of Shea Patterson would’ve added yet another arm to the mix in 2016. But the balance of Browne, Town, Darnold and Greene is stout enough for the replacement of Kessler that USC can now put all of their eggs in the basket of the 2017 class.

Who stands out that year? Former Washington commit Tate Martell, who previously gave Sarkisian a verbal as an eighth grader.

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Not only is Martell still evolving as a passer, given that he’s only played two years of high school football thus far, but he’s on the nation’s best team in Bishop Gormon, and did incredible things as a sophomore in 2014.

Martell threw for 2,537 yards and had one of the craziest high school touchdowns to interceptions ratio you’ll ever see, at 40 to 2.

Plus, his highlight reel is borderline insane, given his age.

Yes, he’s young and still developing. And yes, Martell is on a team with a tremendous amount of talent, including receivers Alize Jones and Cordell Broadus this past year, which may mask some of his weaker areas.

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But like Patterson, he’s another dual-threat yet drop-back passer capable arm that fits exactly what Sarkisian wants to do with USC’s offense. And while getting a highly touted quarterback like K.J. Costello in 2016 would be a solid pickup for the Trojans, it would likely put them out on Martell.

USC has historically thrived on playing up the benefits of competition, but you’d be hard pressed to find a highly rated quarterback that would be willing to walk into a school that signed three four-star or five-star quarterbacks in the previous two classes.

Given Martell’s upside and the depth that the Trojans have now with regard to replacing Kessler in 2016, there’s no need to sign another quarterback.

Especially when there’s several position groups that will need to be replenished in next year’s class, namely the receiving corps, safeties and defensive line. Every initial scholarship is vital.

What say you Trojan fans? Do you think Sark needs to still target a quarterback in 2016? Vote in our poll and leave your take below.

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