Morning Buzz: Should Jack Sears Stay At USC?

Clay Helton’s been confident since last spring that Jack Sears would not transfer from USC.

But it’s now official that freshman JT Daniels is a demigod at USC.

It’s also official that Matt Fink is No. 2 on the depth chart and Sears is No. 3, despite showing much improvement that past three weeks in practice.

So what is in it for Sears to stay at USC? He can hope Daniels stuggles or gets hurt? But the odds of that happening are not great. He can adopt Fink’s attitude and just stick it out.

There is a difference between Fink and Sears, however. Sears had a bigger reputation in high school and originally committed to Duke. He then switched to USC, for better or worse.

Sears is pretty much stuck at USC this season. He could leave in the spring. But then he will have to sit out a season unless the NCAA decides to ease the transfers rules. That appears unlikely after the NCAA failed to make the change earlier this year.

“Obviously, I wish it were a different decision because I want to play, but I will continue to control what I control,” Sears said Sunday.

It’s a good lesson, if you are quarterback, to make sure you go to a school where you know you will play.

Sears might be starting at Duke right now. That sounds better than being No. 3 at USC.


30 thoughts on “Morning Buzz: Should Jack Sears Stay At USC?

    1. There must of been issues in the films about Jacks awareness and execution. If I were Jack I would finish the year and get another year of free education at SC. Can’t hurt. Let’s see what kind of offers come his way as there are no guarantees he would be the starting quarterback. He would have 2 years to get himself ready for the pro ranks. If JT does well. There is no way Jack will see much of the field.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Cant lose any tears over Jack and Matt at a top tier program. Look at Alabama,Georgia and Clemson all last years starters with e xceptional results may all get replaced this year by freshman.Helton has to have tgat mentality to get SC back on top. Helton has class and he talked to the parents too because they were part of their kids decision to chose SC.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Helton is a defensive-minded coordinator who absolutely needs outstanding talent in all phases of the game to be a successful head coach. When such players are in place he is a reasonably competent coach. Unfortunately, his QB starter selections are based on fear of a player leaving for other programs. When JT Daniels fell in his lap he had to start him otherwise his parents would pull him. Our coach is slow to recognize natural talent and intangibles. Look no further than Darnold’s outstanding first season. His first game start came against Utah. Clearly Helton saw his work outs and tested his strengths in the preseason. If SC hadn’t performed so poorly those first few games he might still be on the bench. Jack Sears is the California state champ with talent to burn. JT Daniels has been relentlessly coached and managed to achieve advanced skill for a player his age yet in my opinion with little bandwidth for critical success factors such as: team leadership skills, maturity, football IQ and natural talent for the sport. He is college age now being set back a year to cultivate his “football career” leaving high school a year early (but not really). Still, he regularly under throws the ball, throws wobbly passes at times, lacks mobility, and precise pocket snap and hand off skills. Listen to the Rams coach and SC coach in back-to-back interviews; one is in complete command of his craft , the other is hopeful about outcomes speaking in generalities and lost in discussing the fundamentals of the game. Our coach is fearful he will lose his job if he fails to play the QB he knows his dad will pull if he doesn’t get to start. JT Daniels is not a prodigy. He is an apprentice. A contrivance of parents who believed their kid had talent at an early age and did everything possible to nurture his lack of skill.


    3. I think coach Helton is beholden to JT Daniels (mostly afraid his father will pull him from USC if he didn’t get the starting job). JT Daniels has proven to be a somewhat uncoachable bust. I say that because half his longer throws come up short and delivered wobbly). Compared to Jack Sears who won the state championship BTW his throws were straight as an arrow and on target. He knew when to throw away balls when players were covered. The play calls against Arizona were so conservative and didn’t allow him to profile his talents. AND YET his play was incredible impressive. Sears is a talent that can be developed. His on camera enthusiasm and maturity is also impressive. JT Daniels, by will of parents paying for NFL tutors and setting him back a grade, etc. etc. is a manufactured skilled player who lacks talent that can be developed much further. He will be a bust in the NFL if he gets that far. Helton is running the program and based his QB selection by fear. The good nature of Sears and his loyalty to Trojan football is the only thing that keeps him in place. The coach knows it. Fear in losing QB players is 1 Daniels, 2 Fink, and 3 Sears and that in the order. And yet the most naturally gifted player is unable to showcase his talents. Your article is clearly the truth. My daughter goes to USC in the music department. Its hard to watch Daniels play knowing the better player sits.


  1. First, all Trojans should REALLY be hoping that J. T. stays healthy, and that neither Sears nor Fink sees the field. But if, for any reason Daniels needs to sit a week out, don’t be surprised if Helton announces a mini competition for qb for that week’s practice —-and don’t be surprised if Sears wins it. I think Coach Helton, in the end, would prefer a guy who gets a couple of delay of game calls but can throw and run with the best of them (Sears) to a great guy who’s mastered the playbook but lacks the arm to be be a threat at quarterback (Fink).

    Liked by 2 people

      1. If you lose to Secretariat or American Pharoah or Justify by a length, instead of Mcgiggles or Towns or Brownes by 10 lengths, you stand a better chance of winning elsewhere….you can lead a horse 🐎 to water, but you can’t make him drink.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. The only argument Helton can play here is the Matt Cassel scenario.

    Cassel didn’t start and backed up Heisman winners Palmer and Leinart. But he did make it to the NFL and made the Pro Bowl one year and signed a big contract in 2009.

    Maybe Sears has what it takes and just needs to stick it out. The Cassel situation shows you don’t have to play significantly to make it to the League and make millions.

    Although the flaw in the argument here is that Helton had nothing to do with Cassel and those USC QB’s at the time. Norm Chow helped develop those USC QB’s. No guarantee Helton can prepare a backup QB for the pros.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s way too early to say this —but — I have a feeling Sam is gonna outplay and outlast Josh in the NFL… a lot on both counts.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. rosen already missed time and we’re still in camp. I’d say durability maybe one issue. But from what SI wrote after watching a practice, pouting maybe his biggest downfall.

        Liked by 2 people

      3. Pudly —Yep. Lots of guys with talent just don’t realize that’s not enough. Rosen will NEVER be a team player. It’s not him.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. No. He has a life, too. Looking objectively, putting Matt Fink #2 was a mistake. It indicates undue animous against Jack. Playbook? Lining up? Lol…while they are key, the bigger picture is more important. I have a little concern with coaching maturity, sorry. I hate to have to make a big issue now because I appreciate our coaches, but this doesn’t illustrate belief in Jack’s ability. If coach thought putting Jack #3 would support his assessment that Jack would not transfer, mistake. #2,yes. #3, no… he asks too much…..Fink is the one who was never going anywhere because he couldn’t go anywhere. No slight to him but he’s fortunate to be at USC and he has the good sense to understand this. That’s life…,learning our limitations and knowing how to appreciate things anyways. I didn’t like Tee, and for that matter, Pittman, going off on Jack….it was totally uncalled for…..I understand Trojan for life…I am that,,…but, Jack is a better talent than to say he’s mired in the doghouse waiting for grown men and misfortune to shine on him….he already burned his shirt, so if they have a good plan, follow it, even if it hurts like heck to leave the finest school in America.


    1. No prima donnas. I said this out loud when Ju Ju was flying a little to high and cost USC a Thursday night home game against Washington after missing practices and voicing too much…Ju Ju was and is as good as any receiver ever at USC and is having a great pro career that hopefully fulfills all his dreams, but he had to make attitude adjustments along the way. We all do. And when parents speak publicly….that’s never, never good….this is a time tested case driven fact of life…


    2. Finest university in America, think not at this time. Maybe the Trojan Marching Band can claim that honor in their arena. The school is all
      about money – money in every area or department.


      1. What do you think plays bills? Money – it’s the reason the richest schools are also the top ranked per endowment. We’re not a tax supported monopoly like bel-air tech and Cal. Gotta’ say the rise in 10 years is nothing short of astounding from the high 50’s to # 23? Sample turned it around by jump-starting the contributions and Nikias was stellar as well.

        You cut Harvard’s endowment and see what happens


  4. No, no no. You’re missing the point, Scottie. Did Darnold pick USC because he knew he would play? No, he picked USC because he wanted to compete with the best (including then 5-star Ricky Town) for the starting gig. He did that, developed his game, and is now – just 3 years later- the hottest young QB in the NFL. If USC was a place where 5-stars were guaranteed starting jobs, Darnold never would have happened. Rethink this one, Scottie. If Sears really wanted it and worked his ass off like J.T. apparently did, he would have won the job. I love that we’ve gotten a meritocracy under the Helton regime.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. From all public accounts including the coaches, that’s what JT, Sears and Fink did. Worked their butts off. Competed, improved. This has nothing to do with JT being #1. He earned it in competition. But Sears at #3 instead of #2 is disappointing and indicates bias against Jack’s future. The competition has been declared over. Darnold never left because he knew Max was older, therefore he saw a bigger body of work and quietly knew it was just a matter of time. JT just got here. We all are rooting for a perfect performance and record now, but the margins that were called on Jack are much thinner than became evident with Max.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ricky Town? He stayed for a cup of coffee and didn’t have the desire to even bother. No comparison to Jack who has been dug in despite your accusations.


      2. Darnold and JT are top top top rated in the country and Sears made it a competition. Browns and Towns nowhere near as big a mountain, not even worth the time considering. There’s a lot more room for Sears who has sat behind Darnold and now JT.


      3. “A man’s got to know his limitations “… and if Sears was told his weakness like ALL the qbs said they were told, then its on him. Period. No one can learn it for him.


      4. You’re probably right about Jack, Stephen. But it ain’t over yet. The coaching staff has to know he has a higher upside than Fink (however much we all respect Fink as an athlete and a team player).


      5. It sounds like any bias in selecting #2 and #3 Qb’s is bias against what you hold most dearly, your own opinion. There is a point in time when you have to say the staff at USC probably have a better idea of what is best, better qualified than my idea.


    2. If sears really wanted this job, maybe he should e spent more time learning the playbook. It’s clear, to me everyone except a rare few that jack was lacking. This was discussed in great detail in many articles on many sites by many writers who often have differing views.


  5. “It’s a good lesson, if you are quarterback, to make sure you go to a school where you know you will play.”

    This quote pretty much sums up SW’s understanding on college football and how it works from the inside and not as some fan with a blog. Such a situation does not exist where a High School QB “knows he will play” at a college program.

    Unless the school has 0 QB’s on their roster, you are always going to have to compete with someone for the job, and if you are good enough to get offers from a school like USC, you are probably going to a school that has a lot of other talented players on the roster. You are always going to be competing for the job.

    Liked by 1 person

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