Wittek said he will forego competing for the USC starting role in spring practice and instead concentrate on graduating this spring during his seventh semester on campus.
Graduating will give him the opportunity to be eligible immediately at another school (thanks to the wonderful loophole known as the graduate transfer rule that allows players to transfer and be immediately eligible if their new school offers a graduate program their former school did not).
The successor to Matt Barkley at Mater Dei HS (Santa Ana, Calif.) hoped to do the same thing at USC, but it didn't work out that way. He had the initial opportunity in Barkley's final season when Barkley was injured in the final regular season game. However, a poor performance in the Trojans' final two games, particularly in a woeful Sun Bowl, led to an open competition under Lane Kiffin during the offseason.
Though they split time early in the year, fellow redshirt sophomore Cody Kessler won the job and performed admirably throughout the season. With former National Offensive Player of the Year Max Browne waiting in the wings, along with the early enrolling of dual threat quarterback Jalen Greene and the verbal commitments of Class of 2015 QBs Ricky Town and David Sills, the writing was on the wall for Wittek.
New head coach Steve Sarkisian previously stated that the quarterback position, like all others, would be an open competition, but Wittek was likely going to be the odd man out, so he chose to transfer. Wittek told Klein he informed Sarkisian in a meeting Wednesday.
"I had talked to Coach a couple of times," Wittek said. "What it really came down to was a feel for me…. Getting my degree from such a great university will mean a lot, and ultimately, allowing me to play right away with two years to play was the best way to go."
Wittek finishes his USC career 50-for-95 for 600 yards with three touchdowns, but six interceptions. The 6'4" pocket passer was the No. 3 pro-style quarterback, according to Rivals, and an All-American coming out of high school.
He has two years of eligibility remaining and will undoubtedly have plenty of suitors. However, he told Klein he has yet to talk to any schools as he waits for his permission-to-contact paperwork.
Having grown up in Connecticut before moving to California to play at Mater Dei, Wittek could potentially look to take over the quarterback role at a Big 10, ACC or American Athletic Conference.
Steve Sarkisian: "We thank Max for his contributions to Trojan football and wish him the best in his future."— USC Trojans (@USC_Athletics) January 30, 2014
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