Cody Kessler had a good 2014 season. Cody Kessler had a fantastic 2014 season. If you look at the numbers he put up, you wonder how he didnt win any awards. He completed close to 70% of his passes and set school records in four categories and tied school records in two.
Now with his favorite target Nelson Agholor gone to the NFL, can Kessler repeat his success from a year ago or possibly get even better? The answer with ease is yes. The Bakersfield, Ca., native is not going to wow you with his arm or show elite athleticism, but Kessler excels at lots of things. He is great at reading opposing defenses and zipping the ball into the smallest of windows among other top notch qualities. Despite not having great athleticism, Kessler can throw on the run. Kessler is also great at not turning the ball over. In his two years as the starting quarterback for the Trojans, Kessler has 12 interceptions in 815 attempts or an interception for ever 68 passes thrown.
How can a Heisman candidate who will probably break more school records in 2015 improve? For starters, Kessler gets flustered when the pocket collapses. We saw in 2014 that when the pocket collapses and Kessler gets pressured, he tended to overthrow his receivers or turn the ball the over. One of the traits Kessler drastically improved from 2013 to 2014 was playing well in big games but there is still room for improvement. If the Trojans play as well as most experts believe, Kessler will have tons of opportunities to have "Heisman moments."
With a lot of inexperienced/new faces lining up at wide receiver and tight end for the Trojans in 2015, Kessler will look to find a rhythm in the first two games of the season before the tough conference opener against Stanford. There is a lot of talent there with new guys like De'Quan Hampton, Tyler Petite, and Isaac Whitney and guys like Steven Mitchell Jr. and Darreus Rogers that are ready for breakout seasons.
Cody Kessler is going to get the recognition he deserves soon, but as he said in an recent interview with Grantland: "I'm from Bakersfield, I don't need a whole lot of anything," when asked about if he deserved more Heisman attention.
Kessler and the Trojans open the season on September 5th against Arkansas State.