Jalen Green is the first quarterback in Steve Sarkisian's inaugural class at USC. He brings a dual-threat style that fits into Sarkisian's new plans for USC's offense.
Jalen Greene flipped his commitment from the University of Washington and has committed to the University of Southern California, the Serra High School quarterback announced on Sunday evening.
The move came as a surprise, as the 6'3", 196-pound quarterback was prepared to be an early enrollee at UW just last week. But a late push from USC since the hiring of Steve Sarkisian turned Greene onto the Trojans.
"The situation they have going on there and the way the offense is going to change, I feel like it's the best place for me to be," Greene said.
Greene's recruiting process has been a roller coaster ride thanks to the coaching carousel that took place in December. He was originally a Boise State commit, but planned to follow Chris Petersen to UW when he took the head coaching position there.
"I spoke with Coach Petersen and Coach Smith [UW's quarterback's coach] last night and it came as a shock to them," he said.
When Sarkisian was at Washington, Greene wasn't really on his radar because the quarterback situation there was pretty set. Now at USC, things are a little less certain. Sarkisian has made it clear he wants to incorporate some spread elements into the Trojan offense, and one of those is a mobile quarterback.
That's where Greene comes into play.
"With the guys they have now, I feel if I go in and work hard," Greene said, "I will have a great opportunity to compete for playing time."
The Trojans have a stable of quarterbacks in incumbent starter Cody Kessler, Max Wittek and Max Browne, but all three have a skill set that is more conducive to a traditional pro-style offense. Greene, on the other hand, is a dual-threat quarterback, just as dangerous on his own two feet as he is hitting his targets.
There's a notion that Greene is a run-first, throw-second type of quarterback, something Trojan fans have serious reservations about. Greene says, however, that this isn't the case.
"People say I'm run-first, but I'm actually pass-first," Greene said. "That's what Coach Sarkisian is looking for, mobility to the quarterback position because it's hard to stop quarterbacks who can run and pass the ball."
With that in mind, it appears athletic director Pat Haden has given Sarkisian the green light to get creative with the Trojan offense. Whether that works out in Troy remains to be scene, but at worst it brings some diversity to a scheme that has long grown stale and outdated in college football.
Even Stanford, a fellow Pac-12 power offense team, had a mobile quarterback in Andrew Luck. That certainly worked out well.
Greene is currently trying to get all his paperwork in to be an early enrollee at USC, and if all goes through, he will arrive on campus on Jan. 13, in time for the spring semester and to participate in spring ball.
While he is confident in himself, he knows he has much to learn if he wants to compete for a starting spot.
"Just becoming more knowledgeable of the game, especially in the Pac-12," he said. "There's a lot of defense schemes to pick up."
Greene knows USC fans won't exactly be quick to embrace a spread offense quarterback, but he welcomes the challenge of changing their minds.
"I think they'll respond well over time, “Greene said. "They know a lot of schools have mobile quarterbacks now and it makes the offense more competitive."
In the coming weeks, Greene looks forward to becoming a Trojan and his college career started. Greene also looks forward to being able to play in front of his friends and family, something that would have been more difficult if he had gone to Washington.
"Both coaches are great," he said of Petersen and Sarkisian, "But I feel like USC right now is the best fit for me."
All quotes were obtained firsthand, unless otherwise stated.