Kessler Talks Junior Day

USC's recent Junior Day event attracted dozens of talented recruits from the West Coast and one of the top prospects in attendance was (Bakersfield) Centennial quarterback Cody Kessler. The strong-armed passer, who was arguably the top underclassmen quarterback at last year's Rising Stars Camp, made the trip to Los Angeles to learn more about the school and the new vision of the football program.

USC's recent Junior Day event attracted dozens of talented recruits from the West Coast and one of the top prospects in attendance was (Bakersfield) Centennial quarterback Cody Kessler.

The strong-armed passer, who was arguably the top underclassmen quarterback at last year's Rising Stars Camp, made the trip to Los Angeles to learn more about the school and the new vision of the football program.

"I went down there last year for the Rising Stars Camp and I really liked it a lot then, and at Junior Day I got to take an exclusive tour, so I got to see other parts that I didn't see at the camp," Kessler said. "The campus is really nice and there is a lot of historical stuff there. I liked it a lot."

On the visit, Kessler got a behind the scenes look at the football program and was impressed by the new staff's passion and straight forward approach.

"They were very intense. They said, ‘If you don't want to be a champion, if you don't want to win national championships and you don't want to come to compete, then don't come to USC.' They were kind of straight up about that so I liked that a lot."

He also liked what he heard from new quarterbacks coach Clay Helton, who sat down with the quarterbacks to discuss his coaching philosophy and give advice some on how to improve their play.

"When we all split up into our own individual groups I got to talk to Coach Helton. We all got a lot of individual attention which was cool. We just talked about all the basic information about their offense and stuff, which is cool because now when I watch a game I kind of know what he is talking about.

"(Helton) didn't really coach the same way that (Jeremy) Bates did but they talked about some of the same stuff. What Coach Bates' liked is kind of the same thing that Coach Helton was saying that he liked.

"Coach Helton talked to my head coach last week and told him that he had watched my tape. He just said that I was one of the top guys."

The Centennial standout has caught the eye of several college coaches with his strong arm and already holds offers from Fresno State, Pittsburgh, Washington State and New Mexico.

Despite missing four games with an ankle injury, he passed for over 2,000 yards and 15 touchdowns while rushing for another 400 yards in 2009.

Kessler's physical ability has made him one of the top quarterbacks in California, but he feels that his commanding presence and leadership qualities are what separate him from other prospects in the 2011 class.

"I think that I have great presence and I am a great leader. That's what I have worked on," he said. "I talked with my head coach going into my junior year and he said, ‘All the skill stuff is there, but the biggest thing that scouts are going to look for on the next level is leadership, your command and how you manage the game.' That's what I have worked on all offseason."

The 6-2, 205-pound signal-caller has started since his sophomore season and led his team to the CIF Central Section Championship game last season as a junior.

Kessler said he looks forward to pressure situations and thrives on the big stage.

"I like all of the pressure. It doesn't get to me at all. Like in the big-time games I love having the ball, and love all that pressure," he said. "Like if it is coming down to the last second then I would rather have myself win the game or lose the game."

While it's still very early in the process, Kessler has been hearing from several schools, including most of the Pac-10, Boise State and even Alabama.

"Things are good. I just got offered from Washington State a few days ago and the Boise State coach sent me this pretty cool email, so I am going to call him sometime this week," he said. "I have also been talking to Washington and pretty much all of the Pac-10.

"I'm going to take an unofficial visit to Alabama next month and then I am going to go over to Pitt because they offered too. I'm going to go to Alabama for two days and then we are going to drive over to Pitt for three days."

Kessler's busy schedule continues this week as he will participate in the Badger Sports/New Level 7-on-7 Passing Tournament in Las Vegas.


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



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