With the departures of Jordan Campbell to Boise State and Jarvis Jones to Georgia, it's been widely speculated that others may follow their lead and leave USC for programs elsewhere. Because the sanctions permit upperclassmen to leave without sitting out the NCAA required one season thanks to a two-year bowl ban, many felt as if players looking for a fresh start might find solace away from Southern California.
However, it's a little more than complicated than just that. For one, players are barred from transferring to schools within the Pac-10 conference. A junior such as Marc Tyler can't just pick up his bags, head up the Interstate-5, and play at Cal or Stanford this season. If he's dying to relocate to the Bay Area, he'll have to sit out a year, or swallow some pain killers and play at a WAC school such as San Jose State.
Furthermore, ESPN's Bruce Feldman noted yesterday that it may be equally challenging for these upperclassmen, primarily seniors, to leave for any SEC school per conference rules.
Spoke to an SEC coach (re:USC): An SEC rule prevents teams from taking transfers w only 1 yr of eligblty remaining unless they've graduated.
That means seniors like quarterback Mitch Mustain and cornerback Shareece Wright, who have yet to graduate are blocked from attending any SEC school. On the contrary, a guy like C.J. Gable, who graduated in May, is eligible to transfer to one of those Southern institutions without the penalty of sitting out a season (note: he is unable to sit out a season as a redshirt senior).
Why am I pointing this out?
Because it likely increases the chances that Mitch Mustain sticks around for his senior season at USC. Yes, the infamous Mitch Mustain. The former Arkansas starter who went 8-0 in his first eight games under center, only to transfer to USC where he has sat behind future NFL draft pick Mark Sanchez and Matt Barkley. Regardless of his inability to see the field, having a healthy Mustain backing up Barkley in 2010 is essential if the Trojans are going to get through a tough Pac-10 conference slate.
As evident by his performance in the spring game (299 passing yards and 5 touchdowns), there's no question that, when called upon, he can produce on the field. If Barkley goes down, which he did last season, the Springdale, Arkansas, native will be asked to shoulder much of the offensive burden as well. We all saw the value of a solid backup quarterback thanks to the ineptitude of Aaron Corp against Washington last season so I don't have to preach about the importance of having a solid number two starter waiting in the wings.
Fortunately, by making it virtually impossible for Mustain to return to SEC country, where he is originally from, it looks as if number sixteen will stick around as Barkley's backup, well on his way toward becoming the next Matt Cassel.
Hey, we can at least hope.