The Jesse Scroggins Saga: USC and the NFL or Waste Time in the SEC?

Rick McMahan@@RickMcMahanSenior Writer IJuly 20, 2009

FAYETTEVILLE, AR - SEPTEMBER 2:  Sedrick Ellis #49 of the University of Southern California Trojans as congratulated by teammate Kyle Moore #84 after a play against the Arkansas Razorbacks on September 2, 2006 at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville, Arkansas.  Southern California won 50-14.  (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)

The Trojan nation is waiting breathlessly for Lakewood quarterback Jesse Scroggins to make his decision between USC, Florida, and Tennessee.

His choice should be revealed soon and the buzz is that Scroggins will make USC his home for the foreseeable future.

Naysayers have questioned why a talented quarterback would choose to redshirt and perhaps sit a year or even two behind this year’s mega recruit Matt Barkley.

Actually, there are many reasons but predominately, the ones that come to mind are fairly evident if you look at USC’s recent run of placing quarterbacks in the NFL.

In the Pete Carroll era, there have been four starting quarterbacks (Carson Palmer, Matt Leinart, John David Booty, and Mark Sanchez) and all of them currently reside on NFL rosters.

Add Matt Cassel, who couldn’t crack the starting lineup when Leinart was breaking NCAA records and that makes five quarterbacks playing on Sundays with Palmer and Cassel starting for sure and Mark Sanchez expected to vie for the starting position with the Jets.

Matt Leinart will start the season once again backing up Kurt Warner but lets face it, Warner is likely a Hall of Fame quarterback who has played exceptionally well over the last two seasons.

Haters have bagged on Leinart, saying he is a bust but it is hard to make that determination when Warner has clearly played well. I suspect that Leinart will do fine when he gets his chance but only time will tell.

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John David Booty obviously doesn’t possess the raw tools of those mentioned previously, yet he was still drafted and will remain with the Vikings in some capacity as the Brett Favre drama plays itself out.

For Jesse Scroggins the decision won’t be easy but these are the realities of the situation he is faced with:

First of all, he wants to play for the Trojans. This is his first choice and the only reason he hasn’t already given his verbal commitment is because of Matt Barkley.

Having said that, Scroggins isn’t afraid of competition, regardless of who it is. The young man is supremely confident and with his abilities, he should be.

Besides, Scroggins has already come up with a plan.

Scroggins has been quoted as saying if Barkley doesn’t redshirt this year and Scroggins does redshirt in 2010, then Scroggins figures he will only have to sit one year behind Barkley assuming that Barkley leaves after his junior year.

This is a viable assumption given the accolades that Barkley is already receiving from almost everyone who has seen him.

Now let’s look at Florida and Tennessee and see what they have to offer this gifted young quarterback.

Urban Meyer and his spread offense is so well regarded by the NFL, that his record setting and Heisman winning quarterback Tim Tebow has been only mentioned as a “wildcat” option and perhaps as a tight end.

Sensing the problems that his style of offense raises for those who judge talent for the NFL, Meyer is going to alter his offense and let Tebow go under center this year to prove that Tebow isn’t just a system quarterback.

Not many in the NFL are convinced.

Chris Leak, who led the Gators to Meyer’s first NCAA title in 2006, got a sniff in the NFL and I don’t think he was heard from again.

I am not denigrating Urban Meyer or the Florida Gators in any way. Their success speaks for itself.

What I am saying is that compared to USC, Florida isn’t even in the same hemisphere as the Trojans when it comes to placing quarterbacks in the NFL.

I expect Tennessee to be USC’s main competition for Scroggins service.

Lane Kiffin is a players coach and had a good relationship with both Leinart and Cassel.

But Tennessee is rebuilding in a tough SEC conference and the job is going to take time.

The question is whether or not Kiffin can get Scroggins to buy into a rebuilding program that may take longer than the eligibility Jesse Scroggins has in a conference where you get little in the way of “gimmees.”

Based on Jesse Scroggins comments and the well thought out plan that he has elaborated on when asked about attending USC, it is apparent that young Mr. Scroggins has given this much thought.

For Jesse Scroggins, the choice should be easy.

Come to USC, redshirt and get stronger with a clearly defined path to the NFL or play in a successful college system (Florida) that won’t score points with NFL talent evaluators at the next level.

Or go to Tennessee and learn to lose while Kiffin gets the Vol’s on track.

The choice is yours Jesse Scroggins.

The recruiting world awaits your decision.


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