"I felt at home when I was there and I am close to the coaches."
Kessler's visit to the Los Angeles campus last week solidified his decision to stay close to home.
"I went to USC on Friday and it went awesome," said Kessler. "It was great there. Some of the coaches were out on the recruiting trail but I still got to talk with [OC] Coach [Clay] Helton, [DC] Coach [Monte] Kiffin, and [Head] Coach [Lane] Kiffin. We had a good time talking about a lot of things."
Kessler is rated the 15th best quarterback in the nation, according to Scout.com. But after a stellar spring, his ranking is likely to rise. Along the way, he accumulated nearly 20 scholarship offers and invite to the U.S. Army All-American game.
Last month, Kessler was close to making a commitment. After spending hours upon hours talking to coaches and family, Washington emerged as a top choice. That was until Helton made the call that changed everything.
The Trojans were among Kessler's early favorites during the recruiting process. However, as his junior year winded down, he was only considering schools that extended him a scholarship offer. Despite attending junior day at USC, and the Trojans interest in him, Kessler had no offer. Nevertheless, Helton had told Kessler if he got close to a decision to call and inform him. That is what Kessler did.
Kessler clearly remembers the Friday morning of the Berkeley Elite 11 Regional Camp. He was set to pick up the phone in Centennial head coach's Bryn Nixon's office to call UW head coach Steve Sarkisian and possibly make a verbal commitment. Then Helton called Nixon and offered Kessler a scholarship.
"Nixon was saying just wait and as soon as I was going to pick up the phone to call [Washington] Helton called," Kessler recalled.
Less than three weeks later, Kessler is a Trojan.
Kessler learned the only reason the Trojans had not offered him sooner was head coach Lane Kiffin had yet to see him throw.
Game film of USC's top quarterback prospects were all delivered to Kiffin earlier this spring. Of the eight or nine DVDs delivered, only one arrived erased – Kessler's.
The gaffe nearly cost the Trojans the services of the one nation's premier quarterback prospects.
Kessler is taking a summer school course to graduate in December. He plans to enroll early and compete in the spring.
He threw 2,169 yards with 10 touchdowns passing and eight rushing in 2009 despite missing nearly four games leading the Hawks to the Central Section D1 championship game.
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