In terms of job security, it’s safe to say there isn’t many positions in college football more secure than the QB spot for the USC Trojans. After assuming the starting job from Max Browne in week four of last season, Sam Darnold broke onto the scene, leading the team to eight straight regular season wins, and a Rose Bowl victory.
During the 2016 season, Darnold amassed 3,086 yards and 31 touchdowns, while throwing just nine interceptions. His calm demeanor and strong leadership ability saved the Trojans from what looked to be a disappointing and disastrous season early on.
Darnold’s best tangible attribute is the actual real-life cannon that he had surgically attached to his shoulder to replace his right arm. He has the unique ability to throw both touch passes, and bullets down the field with precision accuracy. He remains calm in the pocket, and does an excellent job of throwing his receiver’s open.
After throwing for 453 yards and 5 Touchdowns in a brilliant Rose Bowl performance, our fearless leader enters the 2017 season as the odds on favorite to win the Heisman Trophy, and the number one prospect on Mel Kiper’s 2018 way-too-early big board.
A redshirt freshman out of Rancho Cucamonga, Fink looks to be a lock for the backup QB position. After battling with freshman Jack Sears all spring, it comes down to years of eligibility. While both quarterbacks looked to be on about the same level, Fink has already been redshirted, and burning a year of Sears’ eligibility to make him a backup doesn’t really make much sense at this point.
Fink came to USC as a three-star dual threat quarterback, who ran for more touchdowns in his senior year of high school (17) than he threw for (15).
His playing style is a stark contrast from that of Sam Darnold. While both are explosive playmakers, Fink would prefer to do more of the work with his feet, outside of the pocket. In the event of a Darnold injury (please, God, no), the offense would surely have to look a little different behind Fink.
I’m going to nickname him Mr. Garbage Time. Because the only time I ever hope to see those luscious locks is when we’re up by at least 3 scores in the fourth quarter.
Perhaps the most exciting backup on the entire roster, Jack Sears came out of nowhere to sign with USC last season.
The early-enrollee from San Clemente, CA was actually Sam Darnold’s backup in High School. Sears had committed to Duke prior to his senior year, only to flip his commitment to USC just before signing day.
Although the four-star QB was classified as a pro-style passer, he runs a 4.66 40-yard dash, which would have been good for third-fastest at this year’s NFL combine.
As a high school senior last year, Sears threw for 2600 yards and 37 touchdowns, while also running for 1135 yards and 9 scores.
Sears is an exciting prospect who seems to have the combined skill set of both Sam Darnold and Matt Fink. Hopefully they choose to redshirt him this season, and we won’t get to see that skill set for at least another year - when he figures to compete for the starting job.