Sophomore quarterback Jesse Scroggins will be leaving the USC football program and intends to transfer to another school.
This news does not come as a complete surprise to Trojans fans. Scroggins was having academic issues and was forced to miss time this spring while also recuperating from injury. USC coach Lane Kiffin had made it clear throughout spring that Scroggins had work to do in order to remain with the team and Scroggins also lost valuable practice time to fellow quarterbacks Max Wittek and Cody Kessler, who received the majority of the workload.
When he committed to USC out of Lakewood (Calif.) High School in 2010, Scroggins had hoped to be the heir apparent to Matt Barkley. Scroggins was the No. 2 quarterback in the ESPN 150 that year and played in the Under Armour All-America Game. He chose USC over offers from Florida, LSU, Tennessee (where he was offered by Kiffin) and Nebraska. Scroggins was known for having a strong arm with loads of potential, but he was also considered a raw quarterback. Because of that, his ceiling was thought to be high with a lot of opportunity for development.
Scroggins redshirted in his first year at USC and then suffered a thumb injury in fall camp before the 2011 season. It was a tough blow for Scroggins because he had been performing well and looked to be the No. 2 quarterback heading into the season. With Scroggins out of action for the first six games, Kessler was named the backup quarterback. By the time Scroggins returned to action, there wasn’t much of an opportunity to make an impact. He took the final snap of the game against Washington, which was the extent of his USC playing career.
The missed opportunity to compete this spring is what ultimately damaged Scroggins. There was still a chance for him to stay in the competition with Wittek and Kessler, but his absence just put those two farther ahead. The academic troubles served as a double whammy, because head coaches have to trust that their quarterbacks are taking care of business.
It was going to be an uphill battle for Scroggins to completely get back in good graces and earn a legitimate shot at the starting job in 2013. Perhaps the academic hurdles were too much. Regardless, he has chosen to take his chances elsewhere. Wherever he lands, somebody is going to get a good quarterback. Scroggins has some real talent and it's hard to find too many guys with an arm as strong as his.
As far as the Trojans are concerned, the quarterback spot is still in good shape for the future. In addition to Wittek and Kessler, USC will welcome Max Browne, the No. 2 pocket passer in the ESPN position rankings, next spring. It remains to be seen whether the Trojans will pursue another quarterback in this class now that Scroggins is gone.