If you were surprised at the news that USC quarterback Jesse Scroggins will be transferring, you haven’t been paying attention.
It was only a matter of time before at least one of the Trojan’s backup signal callers had to go.
USC had a unique situation on their hands. It is possible that they might have had too much talent at one position.
When both Cody Kessler and Max Wittek signed and enrolled early, it created a strange situation. Rarely do you see three underclassmen with the capability of starting at almost any program gunning for the same coveted role.
Though Kessler and Wittek signed a year behind, their early enrollment put them only a semester behind Scroggins.
It seemed destined that one of them would have to go.
Scroggins was the first, and only, to have any real setbacks when, last August, he suffered a thumb injury that required surgery during fall camp. A redshirt freshman at the time, he missed six games.
In the meantime, backup duties were split between true freshman Cody Kessler, whose grace under pressure impressed the coaches, and walk-on John Manoogian.
Though theoretically there was time to catch up, he had fallen severely behind.
Scroggins also struggled in the classroom. He did not participate in the latter part of spring ball in order to make sure he would be eligible for the fall.
Meanwhile, Kessler and Wittek split reps, staying neck-and-neck and improving all spring. Though Lane Kiffin never specifically said Scroggins was out of the race for the No. 2 slot, it was essentially implied.
In April, when USC received a verbal commitment from quarterback Max Browne, it seemed like the final nail was in the coffin.
Though many fans love “stacked” teams, sometimes too much talent in one place cancels each other out instead of creating more competition. Someone is bound to get left out.
When they do, they go searching other places.
It was inevitable. USC wasn’t big enough for all of them. In this case, natural selection made the outcome simple and extremely obvious.
Will USC suffer any repercussions?
Browne is hoping to graduate in December and enroll early. He will add a little extra competition to the mix, maybe even more than Scroggins did in his final year.
Wittek and Kessler will continue to do what they have done since they arrived. Life at Troy will go on as normal.
Scroggins will find a better situation. He needs to be at a school where he can handle the academic load. USC is still one of the more academically challenging schools in the country.
He is not the first student who has found it difficult to excel academically and athletically, or otherwise, at USC. He will not be the last.
But, he is the latest. Wish him well. His services will be used well by another program.
In the meantime, USC now has to figure out what to do with three other talented quarterbacks.
Or, they might just lose one more.