USC Fall Preview: Quarterbacks

The Trojans have a stable of talented quarterbacks that any coach in the nation would love to have on his roster. In Mark Sanchez, Mitch Mustain and Aaron Corp, USC has three quarterbacks that are all capable of leading the team to great success in 2008.

Mark Sanchez - 6-3, 225, RS Junior - Mission Viejo, CA

In 2008, Mark Sanchez will step in and replace John David Booty as the leader of the USC offense. Sanchez gained valuable experience last season, starting three games when Booty was sidelined due to injury. Sanchez started on the road against Oregon and Notre Dame and at home against the Arizona Wildcats leading the team to a 2-1 record.

During the quarterback competition this spring, Sanchez, who has been in the system the longest, separated himself from Mustain and Corp with his command of the offense and really looked the most comfortable under center.


Mark Sanchez
Sanchez is a natural leader and has had a smooth transition into his new role this offseason. While John David Booty was laid-back, Mark Sanchez has a much more outgoing personality and isn't afraid to show his emotions on the field. Sanchez adds some energy and excitement that the USC offense lacked at times in 2007.

Along with his fiery style, Sanchez also takes more chances down the field and we could see a more potent deep passing game in 2008. In spring practices and offseason workouts, Sanchez has shown a willingness to go for the big play. Look for players like Damian Williams and Ronald Johnson to emerge as true big-play threats.

Analysis: The passing game will need some time to develop early in the season with Sanchez taking over as the starter. He doesn't have the luxury of having a proven tight end like Fred Davis to rely on, but with the addition of Damian Williams to an improved and more experienced receiving corps, the offense has the potential to be much more explosive in 2008. Sanchez has more big-play ability than Booty and is a charismatic leader that players love to follow. If he can limit his mistakes and keep his emotions in check the passing game should be improved this season.

Mitch Mustain - 6-3, 205, RS Sophomore - Springdale, AR

Mitch Mustain began his career at Arkansas and had a successful freshman season compiling an impressive 8-0 record as a starter in 2006. Unhappy with his situation at Arkansas, Mustain transferred to USC in 2007.

After transferring to USC, he had to sit out the 2007 football season due to NCAA transfer rules. While Mustain wasn't available to play in games, he made the most of his first year at USC competing against the Trojans' first-team defense everyday at Howard Jones Field.


Mitch Mustain
As the quarterback of the scout team Mustain showed great competitiveness and won USC's Service Team Offensive Player of the Year Award.

Mustain gained the respect of his new teammates with his gutty performance everyday on the practice field and opened eyes with his playmaking ability. Mustain along with wide receivers Damian Williams and Brandon Carswell really tested the Trojans ultra-talented secondary.

Mustain has a strong arm, above-average accuracy and made good decisions with the ball this spring while pushing Sanchez for the starting job. He will begin the season No.2 on the depth chart but proved at Arkansas and this spring that he is more than capable of being a starting quarterback.

Analysis: While Sanchez is the starting quarterback and has emerged as the leader on the offensive side of the ball, Mustain has all the tools to develop into an elite quarterback in the next few years. Mustain adds depth and stability to the quarterback position and is capable of leading the offense if Sanchez were to suffer an injury. Having a player as talented as Mustain in a backup role helps offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian sleep a little easier at night.

Aaron Corp - 6-4, 195, RS Freshman - Villa Park, CA

Aaron Corp is the most raw, but most athletic of the three quarterbacks. The 6-4, 195-pound redshirt


Aaron Corp
freshman really performed well this spring and exceeded most expectations with his play and grasp of the offense.

Corp didn't back down from the quarterback battle this spring and displayed improved arm strength to go along with his tremendous athletic ability. When he is under center he can beat the defense with his arm and his feet. The young signal-caller has shown great improvement in his short time at USC and has a very bright future ahead of him.

Analysis: It would be nearly impossible to find a better third-string quarterback on any college roster across the nation than Aaron Corp. Many college coaches would be happy to have a player of his ability as their starting quarterback right now, but the Trojans, with their star-studded roster have the luxury of letting him learn the system and improve on the practice field while grooming him for the future.

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions you can reach Kevin Carden
at kevin@scplaybook.com


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