When Matt Barkley went down with a season-ending injury late last year, Max Wittek was made the starting quarterback for the University of Southern California Trojans. Wittek started two critical games and though the men of Troy lost, he was considered the favorite heading into spring practice. Ah, but a good spring practice by a forgotten QB threw everyone for a loop.
First off, let’s explain incoming freshman Max Browne, who is well thought of in some corners as the best prep player coming into the 2013 college football year. Browne was an early enrollee and at the very least, he could undoubtedly make an impression and might be regarded as an heir apparent. Although he looks impressive at times in practice, he is limited in his ability to handle every play. Browne is an incoming freshman – time is on his side.
Forgotten star QB
So the competition during spring would be between two redshirt sophomores: Wittek and the sometimes forgotten Cody Kessler. If spring practice is any indication, Kessler should be the new starting quarterback at USC. Yes, you heard right, Kessler looks that good.
When the Trojans finished spring practice this past weekend with the spring game (source: USC), Cody Kessler did everything asked of him. He already has a command of the huddle and also is an excellent field general. Kessler’s take charge mentality along with almost always making the right call to the right receiver, is notable to say the least.
Kessler isn’t an imposing figure like his two counterparts, standing at 6’2 and weighing in at 215 pounds. Wittek is 6’4” 235 pounds and Browne is 6’5” and though listed at 215, appears to be getting heavier than that as the days pass. Wittek and Browne both have guns for arms while Kessler is more of an all-around type passer, capable of making every throw and while on the move. His arm isn’t as powerful as his taller competition but it shouldn’t be said that Cody doesn’t have a lively arm. And recall that Kessler was one of the highest rated high school quarterbacks in the country back in 2010 for 2011 (source: MaxPrep).
Cody Kessler is the kind of guy that won’t astonish, but he does make plays and he doesn’t make big mistakes. The freshman Browne is gaining control of the play book while understanding the players, so he will be pushing Kessler and Wittek come the beginning of the 2013 season. Wittek is a gunslinger of sorts which looks good at times but when the other side catches some of his throws, well that hurts. Kessler has made very few mistakes all spring and didn’t throw any interceptions during the spring game.
In fact, on the Kessler’s first play of the spring game (second series), he heaved a long ball to his superstar wideout Marqise Lee, who took it 70 yards for a touchdown. Whether that ultimately wins him the starting quarterback job, only head coach Lane Kiffin knows.
Kiffin will likely have all three listed on the depth chart as co-starters but unless Wittek or Browne come on strong in August, in all likelihood, Cody Kessler from Bakersfield, California, will be the starting quarterback when the Trojans line up in Honolulu August 29 against the Hawaii Warriors. And he will no longer be the forgotten man.
Additional source: YouTube
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