When Matt Barkley announced this past off-season that he would come back for his senior year, there was a collective sigh of relief in the land of Troy. But that reprieve of wondering whether he would stay or go to the NFL had more to do with Barkley's abilities as a superstar player - combined with his special chemistry along with the potential to lead the Trojans back to a national championship.
On the other hand, there were more than adequate replacement players waiting in the wings should Barkley have decided to be an NFL'er. So, with that said, who would replace Barkley should anything happen to him? There are three very capable quarterbacks that are ready to play should Barkley go out. Who are they? Here they are listed alphabetically.
Cody Kessler - Considered the backup last year when Jesse Scroggins went out with a thumb injury, if there had to be a backup listed number two today, it would probably be Kessler. Size-wise, the redshirt freshman looks similar to Barkley at 6'2" 210 pounds - he's maybe the most mobile of all the quarterbacks. He arguably has the best touch of the three backups and can make all the throws, plus he has great command of the huddle.
Jesse Scroggins - Similar in size to Barkley and Kessler, this redshirt sophomore has always had athleticism on his side plus a cannon-like arm. Injury to his thumb (which required surgery) before the season sent him spiraling from Barkley's backup to fourth on the depth chart. When grades became an issue recently, there was speculation Scroggins would throw in the towel and transfer but he scorched that idea the other day when he said he'd be back (source - ESPN).
Max Wittek - The tallest of all the quarterbacks at 6'4", the redshirt freshman is big and strong and a prototypical pocket passing signal caller. He has very fluid movements and ideal fundamentals, plus is deceptively fast. Though he has a quick release and hard throwing arm, his accuracy comes into question as he has a knack for throwing interceptions.
With Scroggins having to climb back up the depth chart and Wittek being inconsistent at times, if I had to put money on who will be Barkley's backup come the 2012 season, in my opinion Kessler would be the choice. But anyone of these quarterbacks could do a fine job replacing Barkley should the Heisman Trophy candidate go down. But let's hope that never happens.
Sources - Pac-12 Conference, ESPN
Daryle W. Hier lived in Los Angeles Ca. most of his life and has been a longtime fan of USC, having followed the Trojans since he was just a youngster. Fight On!
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