Corp is the One

At the same time that former USC quarterback Mark Sanchez is climbing up draft boards around the NFL, the USC Trojans have now found the player that will replace him under center in Aaron Corp. Look inside for more.

At the same time that former USC quarterback Mark Sanchez is climbing up draft boards around the NFL, the USC Trojans have now found the player that will replace him under center in Aaron Corp.

USC Head Coach Pete Carroll announced on Tuesday that Corp has been named the starting quarterback heading into the Trojans' spring game this coming Saturday.

"We went about this with the thought that we are playing a game this weekend and we have to make a choice about who is going to go out first with the first group, which really tells us who is ahead at this time, and Aaron Corp is that guy," Carroll said.

Corp entered the spring with a slight lead in the quarterback derby and held off both Matt Barkley and Mitch Mustain by playing mistake-free football and showing that he had the best understanding of the offense.

"He's had a great spring and done everything that he can to maximize this opportunity at this point," Carroll said. "He understands the offense, he's moved around well with it and he has really been able to avoid the costly mistakes that you like to see in your starting quarterback."

After twelve practices this spring, Corp still hasn't thrown a single interception.

The redshirt sophomore was thrilled with Tuesday's news but said he needs to stay focused to remain in the top spot.

"I am excited," he said. "It's a great opportunity but again I can't get complacent."

Corp's main competition came from the highly touted freshman Matt Barkley from Mater Dei High School, who quickly emerged as a real challenger for the starting spot.

Barkley arrived at USC as an early enrollee with a good deal of hype, and lived up to it with a very strong performance in the first action of his college career.

"Matt (Barkley) has had an incredible spring," Carroll said. "He just has been off the charts and beyond our expectations of what a guy could do in his first semester, particularly coming out of high school early.

"He's way ahead of schedule; he's way above the level of what other guys have done as freshmen."

Barkley was able to tighten the competition with his playmaking ability and strong arm, but he is still a ways behind Corp in managing the offense and limiting mistakes.

With just twelve college practices under his belt, Carroll said Barkley doesn't have a complete grasp of the offense just yet.

"We have not enabled him with all of the system in terms of the communications," Carroll said. "We have to help him with the play calls and Coach Bates is there with him at the huddle all of the time.

"He's not involved with all of the signaling and all of that communication aspect, so he couldn't really control the game right now."

Junior Mitch Mustain had his good moments during practice but it was clear early on that he was the odd man out in the competition.

"Mitch (Mustain) comes out third in this one at this point," Carroll said. "He has had a solid spring but the other guys have just been almost spectacular.

"I'm hoping that Mitch will continue to battle and work his way through this because anything could happen."

While Corp is the starter for now, the coaches stressed that the competition will pick back up when fall camp opens.

"It's going to be an open competition when we enter the fall but Aaron has definitely deserved it at this point," quarterbacks coach Jeremy Bates said. "It's his job to lose."


Aaron Corp hasn't thrown a single interception this spring. (Jaime Rodriguez Photo)


*Discuss more on the SCPlaybook.com message boards

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




USCFootball.com Top Stories