Max Wittek has made his mind up about his own future as a University of Southern California (USC) Trojan. Although he told teammates and new head coach Steve Sarkisian before the Sun Bowl that he would be staying in Los Angeles, he announced yesterday that he will be transferring. He will obtain his degree at the end of this spring semester, which gives Wittek the right to transfer anywhere still with two years of eligibility and immediately play in the 2014 season.
Sarkisian will probably insert an offense that requires a more nimble quarterback and that didn’t bode well for Wittek. This ends a long-time battle with fellow quarterback recruit from the 2011 freshman class, Cody Kessler, who beat out Wittek this past season as the starting quarterback.
Highly touted and talented
Wittek had been a highly sought after quarterback coming out of quarterback factory, Catholic high school Mater Dei in Orange County California. The 6’4” 235 pounder represents everything in a prototypical drop-back passer. He’s big and strong with a cannon for an arm that can easily make any throw. However, that may have become Wittek’s downfall at USC – not to mention the fact former head coach Lane Kiffin’s play-calling was questionable.
Still, with a more agile and mobile QB in Kessler and Wittek’s mindset to throw the ball into places he shouldn’t, put him on the bench. With incoming freshman sensation Max Browne waiting his turn – and who also is big and has a rifle for an arm – plus, the potential for one or two more touted quarterbacks coming in this year as Trojans, Wittek obviously saw that his number wasn’t going to be called. So that begs the question of where he might go.
Wittek will not have the luxury of spring practice wherever he goes, so his chances of moving in as a starter straight away are few. Yet, there are always schools in need of big and talented strong-armed quarterbacks. Texas is being bandied about in the rumor mills but I don’t see Wittek going from one big-time program to another with the same quarterback situation where he might be at best, third string. Schools such as Louisville with a pro-style offense have been mentioned. Florida could be in the running and/or possibly another SEC school Alabama. Yeah, the new offensive coordinator at 'Bama is quite familiar with Max – that’s Lane Kiffin if you haven’t been paying attention.
However, the schools to keep an eye on include one that’s 3,000 miles away along with a couple California clubs. With the graduation of Boston College’s Chase Rettig – who like Wittek is also from Orange County – gives Max a shot at the starting job, although Florida’s Tyler Murphy just transferred there and will be able to play right away as well. Still, consider the fact that Boston College is a Catholic university plus Wittek is originally from nearby Connecticut.
Staying put in California?
One California school who lost their standout QB to graduation is San Jose State which needs to replace David Fales - himself a former transfer. Another Mountain West Conference squad that needs to replace their star QB – Derek Carr – is Fresno State, a team that the Trojans beat easily in the Las Vegas Bowl this past December. Wittek’s gun-slinging style matches up well with Fresno State’s wide open pass-first offensive approach.
Again, Wittek missing spring practice will hurt his chances of winning a starting job, but given the right circumstances, he could help any one of these teams, given his good size combined with an NFL-caliber arm.
Wouldn’t it be ironic if come August 30th next season for the opener, that Fresno State enters the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum with Max Wittek as the starter against his former team? Might fate turn in Wittek’s favor?
Source: University of Southern California