Spring Storylines: Back-up QB

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Matt Barkley is the undisputed starting quarterback at USC. 

After winning the job as a true freshman, he solidified his spot with a solid sophomore campaign.  As a junior, he could be the face of the program for two more seasons or see his draft stock soar and enter the NFL as an underclassman.

Under his tutelage, three young men will battle. 

Scroggins-McG.jpgRedshirt freshman Jesse Scroggins (photo by John McGillen) and spring early entrants Cody Kessler and Max Wittek are currently in a Barkley understudy derby, which could lead to being #7's heir apparent.

Lane Kiffin has divided the spring repetitions equally among the neophytes. 

Statistically, Kessler has made the most of his opportunity so far, leading the way in completion percentage among the trio, but all three are clearly in need of seasoning before they are asked to ignite the Trojans' high-octane offense.

While no candidate has separated from the pack, Scroggins has a clear advantage to win the back-up job because he has already been redshirted. 

In a perfect world, Barkley would take all the meaningful snaps and Kessler and Wittek could save a year of eligibility.  However, as we were reminded last season, the back-up quarterback is just a snap away from the hot seat.

Scroggins is a bit more mobile than the typical USC quarterback of the last decade and even mimicked Jake Locker and Darron Thomas on the practice squad last fall.

Wittek is a strong armed passer with a Mater Dei pedigree, while Kessler is a natural leader a la Mark Sanchez.

At this point, the race is a dead heat.

Click here to meet Max Wittek!

Here is Cody Kessler, who talks about the comparison to fellow #6 Mark Sanchez...

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