Cody Kessler and “quarterback battle” have almost become synonymous since he stepped foot on the USC campus, before the battles were for backup reps.
The race is much deeper now, as Kessler is vying to become the successor to Matt Barkley. The Trojans redshirt sophomore put his best foot forward during the USC spring game in April, completing 15-of-22 passes for 242 yards and three touchdowns.
The competition between Kessler and Max Wittek (with true freshman Max Browne as a wild card) will continue into fall camp.
In the meantime, here’s 10 things about the Trojans quarterback that you may not know.
Kess or Kessler
“Everyone called me by my last name.”
Kess can hoop, too
Kessler’s favorite sports growing up were football and basketball. On the hardwood, he was a point guard. As a junior at Bakersfield Centennial High School, Kessler was named the Player of the Year after averaging 29.5 points, 11 rebounds, and five assists per game. The following fall, he was the Player of the Year in football, becoming the first player in the area to win those awards in football and basketball.
“(I was a) shooter when I was younger and then I got to high school and I was more of a drive-and-kick, drive-and-finish type of guy,” he said. “Our team was short so I kind of had to do everything. I’d drive and then I’d go down low.”
Against all odds
Kessler loves the Coliseum crowd but he relishes his team’s success in opposing venues.
Oregon’s Autzen Stadium and Notre Dame are at the top of his list of stadiums outside of the Coliseum.
“Oregon was pretty crazy when we beat them my freshman year,” Kessler said. “That was awesome. And then Notre Dame, also my freshman year, was crazy at night.
“I actually like playing away. I love being in front of the home crowd but I enjoy being at different stadiums just because everybody is kind of against you in a way. Also you get to see the new stadiums, you get to see how their fans are because you’re so used to how it is at home so you kind of get that different experience”
Twitter or Facebook
“Everyone will tell you our life is basically just football and school right now,” he said. “When I’m back home we’ll go out to the lake and just go out there and chill all day and relax but other than that my life’s just straight football and school right now.”
Late night snack
Kessler keeps it simple when it comes to looking for something to snack on in the middle of the night. All he needs is a jar of peanut butter and a spoon.
“I’ll just get two or three scoops of peanut butter and be good,” he said.
What’s on your iPod?
When it comes to musical selections, if you like it, chances are Kessler does too. The redshirt sophomore admits he loves his country music. In fact there’s “tons” of it on his iPod, but it doesn’t stop there.
“I don’t really have a genre,” he said. “I like country. I have rap, hip-hop and everything for before a game, different types of moods. Literally, I don’t really have a genre. If I like a song, I’ll put it on.”
Who would play you in a movie?
“Probably, The Rock,” Kessler joked. “I’m just playing. I have no idea.”
Best sports memory
For his favorite sports memory, Kessler goes back to his days at Bakersfield Centennial High School – his junior and senior years to be exact. At Bakersfield Centennial, he fell short of winning a section championship but as a junior, his team made a Cinderella-type run through the playoffs to make it to the title game, losing to Fresno Bullard 42-31 in 2009.
“Even though we lost my junior year we went to the Central Section championship but just that whole season is something I’ll always remember – that team and all the players,” he said.
Kessler watches the NFL but doesn’t profess to having a favorite team. If pressed, he’d go with the Miami Dolphins because his dad, Don, is a huge Dolphins fan. Because of that, Kessler grew up watching a lot of Dolphins games and loves Dan Marino. The family even ventured to South Florida to take in the action in person.
“We went to a game one time when we were younger and they’re all about Marino out there,” he said.