Cody Kessler named USC’s starting quarterback

Cody Kessler started all 14 games for USC last season while leading the team to 10 wins and earning Las Vegas Bowl MVP honors.

Robert Hanashiro

Steve Sarkisian allowed it to marinate. Last Thursday, he had a "feeling" on who his starting quarterback would be.

By Tuesday, he was ready to start cooking.

The first year USC head coach made it official following the 13th spring practice for USC Tuesday evening, announcing Cody Kessler as his starting quarterback.

"If we were starting a game Saturday, Cody would be our starting quarterback," Sarkisian said. "I think he’s deserved it. I think he’s earned it. I think he’s performed well."

Kessler started all 14 games for USC last season while leading the team to 10 wins and earning Las Vegas Bowl MVP honors. This spring he battled redshirt freshman Max Browne and true freshman Jalen Greene for the right to reclaim his spot. It’s the third quarterback competition in as many years for Kessler. He’s won the last two.

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Sarkisian said once he had a feeling on who he thought would win the job, he would sit on it. He allowed himself to do that over the weekend, watching Saturday’s practice as if Kessler was the starter.

On Sunday, he watched every one of Kessler’s and Max Browne’s throws from the first 12 practices of spring.

It was confirmed, the job belonged to Kessler.

"I’m confident to say I know we can go out and win a lot of football games with Cody Kessler as our quarterback," Sarkisian said. "I’m proud of the preparation and the work that he’s done to get himself to this point and I know there’s plenty of room for him to grow in this system.

"He’s extremely decisive. He knows where he’s going with the football."

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Sarkisian met with all three quarterbacks — Kessler, Browne and Greene — before the start of Tuesday’s practice to break the news.

He was complimentary of his two backups, saying Browne is going to be a "star" and Greene would be a "great player."

Sarkisian says the announcement allows Kessler and the team to go into Saturday’s spring game as well as summer players-only workouts knowing who the starting quarterback is, but he didn’t exactly slam the door shut on the competition.