Jesse Scroggins to stay at USC

There were rumors, but they weren't true, Jesse Scroggins says.

He never considered leaving USC. Matt Barkley's decision to stay another year didn't discourage him too much. And he's not so far ineligible academically that he can't get right in time for the fall.

He'll be a Trojan for the long-haul, he said Thursday, after a USC throwing session in which he did not participate.

"I will be eligible in the fall, there is no question about that," said Scroggins, one of three scholarship players backing up Barkley. "I will be practicing in the spring and I will still be here in the fall, no doubt about it."

As of now, Scroggins is academically ineligible to compete for USC by "like a point." He doesn't anticipate it being a big issue.

"To be a football player, you have to be a student first," he said. "That’s the main thing. And I put football before student.

"I admit to that, it's my fault. But I've definitely grown as a person and in the classroom. And I will never fall behind again."

Scroggins, a redshirt sophomore, fell behind the two signal-callers the year below him last season when he tore a ligament in his throwing thumb and missed significant time. Many believe those two, Cody Kessler and Max Wittek, will have the inside track to replace Barkley when he leaves for the NFL.

But Kiffin has said in the past all three guys would start with a clean slate whenever that happens, and Scroggins is sticking to that.

"It's gonna start from scratch, just like everybody got here at the same time," he said. "I feel like that's when somebody's gonna step up and take the reins."

As for accusations that he's not dedicated to becoming the next quarterback at USC, Scroggins laughed.

“Everybody thinks Jesse’s not serious,” he said. “But Jesse’s serious. He’s real serious. And he’s going to get that job.”