USC Football: Will Trojan Fans Wish Max Wittek Stayed?

Rick McMahanSenior Writer IMarch 2, 2014

Southern California quarterback Max Wittek throws against Washington State during the second half of an NCAA college football game in Los Angeles, Saturday, Sept. 7, 2013. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)
Chris Carlson/Associated Press

When USC quarterback Max Wittek announced back in January that he would be leaving USC for an opportunity to play elsewhere, the news was met with a collective yawn from those who follow the men of Troy.

After all, with the emergence of starting quarterback Cody Kessler in 2013, coupled with mega-recruit Max Browne waiting in the wings, the status of Wittek, a redshirt junior, had been relegated to not much more than an afterthought.

But is it possible that USC—and its fanbase—will regret the decision by Wittek to seek greener pastures?

At one time, Wittek appeared to be the heir apparent to former Trojan quarterback Max Barkley's job after Barkley graduated after the 2012 season.

Entering last year, Wittek and the aforementioned Kessler were neck and neck to take the starting position, a job that Kessler would finally claim for his own a third of the way into the season.

Reduced to carrying a clipboard for USC after that decision was made, Wittek saw only garbage time as the season wound down.

Still, Wittek played the role of good soldier and said all of the right things as he watched Kessler become more entrenched as the starter in 2013.

When the season ended and Steve Sarkisian was hired to lead the Trojans, Wittek said he would stay and compete for a job that he had to know was likely out of reach.

Meanwhile, Browne, a former 5-star recruit, loomed on the horizon as the "stud in waiting" for a glamorous lead role as the guy who would eventually run Sark's uptempo offense.

At 6'5", 220 pounds, Browne is a prototypical signal-caller, a guy who possesses all of the tools to succeed at the collegiate level and beyond.

And feeling like the odd man out, Wittek decided to ply his trade elsewhere.

While his decision to leave surprised very few and probably disappointed even fewer, perhaps Trojan fans should not be so blase about Wittek's departure.

With Sarkisian installing a hurry-up, no-huddle offense, USC is only two plays away from needing a guy with experience—a guy like Wittek—to come in and lead the offense.

Sure, it's a long shot that both Kessler and Browne will get hurt, but stranger things have happened.

And as it stands now, if that unthinkable scenario were to manifest itself, USC would turn to true freshman Jalen Greene to lead the offense.

Not a pleasant thought to entertain for those who follow the Cardinal and Gold.

Of course, the likelihood of this occurring is low, and that is good for all involved.

Still, it could happen, and if it does, Trojan fans will wish that their fallback option had some time in the system.

You know, a guy like Max Wittek.