The quarterback position is one that always garners the most attention in the college ranks. That being said, it’s very interesting that a lot of attention was not being paid to USC quarterback Cody Kessler last year. The 2015 season will be a very successful one for Kessler and his numerous weapons on offense. Kessler is an impressive player that can make all of the throws. He will only continue to benefit from playing in his second year for head coach Steve Sarkisian.
Playing in Sarkisian’s offense gives Kessler the chance showcase his throwing ability by making touch throws down the field and strikes to the deep in breaking routes. Having big time playmakers like JuJu Smith and Adoree Jackson allows Kessler to show the timing that is required to get the ball to his receivers in stride, allowing them to get chunks of yards after the catch. Kessler is really good at fitting the ball into tight spots.
Here is an example of how Kessler hits his receivers in stride:
Kessler steps up in the pocket and throws a dart to his receiver running the slant route. The pass has the right zip on it and hits the receiver right along the waistline which allows him to catch the ball in stride and not lose any speed in the process.
The throw results in an extra ten yards gained after the catch but there where many times when a money throw like that results in the receiver taking it to the house.
This clip shows Kessler making a tremendous throw to Adoree Jackson for a touchdown. Notice how he placed the ball perfectly in between two defenders. Things tend to tighten up in the red zone which makes the windows to throw into much smaller. Kessler steps into the throw perfectly and delivers the ball to his receiver.
Playing quarterback requires a lot of guts and poise. Here you see Kessler make a perfect throw to his tight end despite the pressure bearing down on him. The oncoming defender had no effect on him. The ball placement is perfect. This is a testament to how accurate of a passer Kessler can be at times.
There are times when he needs to trust what he sees and make the throw. This play is an example of that. The receiver was open as soon as he crossed the hash marks. Kessler should have made the throw right before he broke to the inside. That would give the receiver a chance to catch the ball and get up field. Instead, he leads the receiver to the other safety and throws the ball high. Fortunately, the receiver is able to avoid the big hit.
Kessler is a quarterback that can develop into a solid NFL prospect. He is primed for a big season this year. USC is a team on the rise now that they don’t have any sanctions placed upon them any longer.
He is a potential Heisman candidate this year. He will put up huge numbers but if he wants to ascend to the top of the quarterback rankings, he will need to keep making the types of throws that we showed earlier. He will also need to improve his play on the road as well as against top competition. The spotlight will be on Kessler and USC. The question is, can he handle it?