Matt Fink Laying Claim to USC Football’s QB2 Role

March 28, 2017; USC backup quarterback Matt Fink scrambling to the sideline during spring practice. (Photo: Dina Colunga)
March 28, 2017; USC backup quarterback Matt Fink scrambling to the sideline during spring practice. (Photo: Dina Colunga) /

USC football’s starting quarterback position is locked down thanks to Heisman candidate Sam Darnold. What isn’t so certain, however, is which signal caller on the Trojans’ depth chart will hold the title of QB2. Matt Fink is making his case.

A quarterback playing at an elite level is always one snap away from being sidelined with an injury. Just take a look at UCLA’s Josh Rosen last season, or Matt Barkley during his senior year with USC in 2012.

The question for the Trojans is, if Sam Darnold were to get hurt, who would take over the quarterback reins?

While there has been much talk about the talented four-star early enrollee Jack Sears, hailing from Darnold’s alma mater San Clemente High School, Trojan faithful shouldn’t be quick to forget redshirt freshman Matt Fink, an early enrollee from the recruiting class of 2016. And the most likely candidate to win the backup job.

Fink, a three-star dual-threat quarterback coming out of Glendora High School, drew praise from head coach Clay Helton for his progress during USC’s scrimmage last Saturday and followed that up with an impressive practice Tuesday afternoon — one that showed leadership, confidence, and natural ability.

Especially when he showed off his wheels scrambling.

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Those three attributes have been with Fink since high school. During his senior season with the Glendora Tartans, he led his team to an 11-2 season. His junior and sophomore seasons also had winning records of 9-3 and 7-3.

The season before he got to Glendora, and the season after he graduated, the Tartans had losing records. So that says something about Fink’s impact on the field.

Being a dual-threat quarterback, one has to have a great deal of confidence to sprint down the field, staring defensive backs in the facemask. Fink showed no shortage of that in high school.

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As a senior at Glendora, Fink threw for 15 touchdowns, but rushed for 17.  He also had almost as many rush yards as passing — 1,106 and 1,258 respectively.

Bottom line, the kid can run.

While Fink has the speed beneath his feet, he also has power in his arm. A lot of the time, the perception of a dual-threat versus a pro-style quarterback is one having less arm strength than the other, but Helton has always said he doesn’t recruit QBs who can’t get the job done throwing the ball.

He showed that during the scrimmage by hitting Tyler Vaughns with a touch pass in the back of the endzone and on Tuesday by tossing three touchdowns in red zone work.

Fink’s senior year, he was named a Prep Star All-American, and made the All-CIF Central Division team, as well as being named All-Palomares League Player of the Year.

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Before committing to the Trojans, Fink had offers from schools such as Washington, Colorado, Cal, and Notre Dame. It wasn’t just USC that saw potential.

Hopefully, Darnold will stay healthy his entire USC career, but the Trojans wouldn’t be in such bad hands if Fink had to take a snap or two.