Top 10 intriguing spring QB battles
February, 19, 2014
By Travis Haney | ESPN.com
It’s rare that a player wins a quarterback job in the spring, but we should at least exit April with a better idea as to how things stand at a number of high-profile programs -- Texas, USC and a handful of SEC schools, among them -- that are seeking new signal-callers.
Here are the hottest QB battles entering spring camps, some of which begin in the next couple of weeks. (Sincerest apologies if you’re still shoveling snow; it’ll be over soon.) I’ve ordered the races from the most wide-open to ones that could eventually become contentious.
1. USC Trojans
Quarterbacks: Max Browne, Cody Kessler
Kessler was good last year in a season in which it was difficult for any Trojan to be good. But Browne has the skill set to be better.
“Big, strong, athletic,” new coach Steve Sarkisian said in January when I asked about Browne, the 6-foot-5, 220-pound redshirt freshman.
Sarkisian, the former Washington coach, has known Browne, a Washington native, since Browne was an eighth-grader. He thought he missed his chance to coach Browne after losing him to Lane Kiffin and USC, but coaching and life are funny like that. It was an unavoidable pairing, evidently.
It’s conceivable that Kessler, particularly coming out of the spring, could still emerge as the leader. Experience is in his favor, as is relatively steady play as a first-year starter. He was plus-13 in TDs-to-INTs (20-to-7) and hit 65 percent of his passes.