Just as Steve Sarkisian welcomes in one quarterback, he loses another. Max Wittek will transfer from USC for the 2014 season.
Per Gary Klein of the Los Angeles Times:
USC quarterback Max Wittek will forgo participating in spring practice, graduate at the end of the semester and transfer to another school to play his final two seasons of eligibility, he said Wednesday.
Wittek, a fourth-year junior, will be able to play at another school immediately under NCAA rules that allow players who have graduated to transfer without penalty.
“I had talked to Coach a couple of times,” Wittek told Klein. “Getting my degree from such a great university will mean a lot, and ultimately, allowing me to play right away with two years to play was the best way to go.”
Sarkisian commented on Wittek's decision via the Trojans Twitter feed:
Steve Sarkisian: "We thank Max for his contributions to Trojan football and wish him the best in his future."— USC Trojans (@USC_Athletics) January 30, 2014
With the way that the 2013 season transpired and the coaching change for the Trojans, Wittek likely saw the writing on the wall.
He started in place of the injured Matt Barkley back in 2012 but lost his starting job to Cody Kessler last year. In addition, Ricky Town, a 5-star QB in the class of 2015 according to 247Sports, changed his commitment from Alabama to USC, per ESPN.com's Blair Angulo. Max Browne is also lying in wait for a shot to start after he redshirted last year.
Bleacher Report's Adam Kramer thinks the will-be junior should have no trouble finding a new home, despite his problems in Los Angeles:
Kramer added that Fresno State would be an attractive opening. Wittek is from California, and the Bulldogs will have to replace the departing Derek Carr next season:
Wittek is a California kid. Fresno State wouldn’t be the worst spot to land.— Adam Kramer (@KegsnEggs) January 30, 2014
Wittek's arm strength never been in doubt, but there's obviously a reason Lane Kiffin opted to start Kessler. His technique needs a little work, and he took a few too many risks, thinking he could thread the ball into any window. He threw three touchdowns and six interceptions during his tenure with the Trojans.
Maybe with a new school and with a new coaching staff, Wittek can fulfill the potential he showed in high school. While it's unlikely he's suddenly going to become an All-American, he can still become a starter on plenty of teams across the country.