Max Wittek was supposed to be the heir apparent to Matt Barkley at quarterback for USC, but after the first two weeks of spring practice, it no longer appears that is a given.
The real star so far for the Trojans in the spring has been the play of rising sophomore Cody Kessler, who has been impressive in two scrimmages, completing 25 of his 34 passes for 353 yards and a touchdown. The 6-foot-1, 215-pound signal-caller took full advantage of the minor knee injury suffered by Wittek, who entered spring as the starter after finishing the season as the team’s top quarterback.
Kessler only threw two passes last season, completing both for nine yards, so he’s behind Wittek in the experience department. Wittek, who started the Hyundai Sun Bowl and the game vs. Notre Dame, failed to impress in each, combining to complete 28 of 60 passes for 293 yards, two touchdowns and five interceptions.
The competition is far from over, but Kessler has opened the eyes of the coaching staff, and his performance in the team’s spring game could be enough to convince Lane Kiffin to name him as the team’s No. 1 quarterback heading into summer camp.
Wittek will be completely healthy at that point and it may be more of an even competition, but the notion that Wittek would be the starter have been silenced with the sterling play of Kessler.