With Mark Sanchez out for an undisclosed period of time with a dislocated knee, quarterbacks Aaron Corp and Mitch Mustain are competing to become the team’s starter for the August 30th opener at Virginia. Tonight both quarterbacks will get an excellent opportunity to prove that they are worthy of that starting job, as the Trojans will have their second full scrimmage of fall camp.
So, lets take a closer look at both Corp and Mustain.
6-4, 195, redshirt freshman
Background : In high school, Corp was a three year starter for Southern California powerhouse Orange Lutheran and accounted for 8,668 yards of total offense and 76 touchdowns. As a senior, he led Orange Lutheran to a 14-1 mark, and the Lancers also won the 2006 CIF Pac-5 Division title and the California state Division II championship. As a result of his years of hard work, Corp was heavily recruited by dozens of schools and received numerous honors, Parade All-American, EA Sports All-American first team, Super Prep All-American, Prep Star All-American, Super Prep Elite 50, Prep Star 100, Rivals.com 100, and many more. Last season, Corp arrived at USC as the fourth quarterback on the depth, and as a result, he redshirted.
Strengths : During last season’s practices, the coaching staff had Corp imitate spread option quarterbacks such as Dennis Dixon and Juice Williams because of his ability to scramble. He has excellant mobility, which is surprising considering his size. It serves him well, as he can throw on the run with excellent accuracy. However, if a play breaks down, he has the ability to tuck the ball and run. In addition to his mobility, Corp has the size and arm strength that will have pro scouts drooling over him. Standing at 6-4, he has an arm that can make all of the throws deep down field.
Weaknesses : Despite an impressive skill set, it’s important to remember that he is still only a freshman, and therefore, prone to making mistakes. His accuracy and decision making still need improvement if he is going to lead a Trojan team to numerous victories. However, the more repetitions he gets with the first team offense should enable him to improve in these areas.
Career highlights : Orange Lutheran’s California state Division II title back in 2006. Also the fact that he survived a year running the USC scout team against one of the nation’s toughest defenses.
6-5, 205, junior
Background : Mustain was one of the most highly decorated high school football players in history, as he won every national player of the year award and was recruited by nearly every major college football program. He eventually chose his home state Arkansas Razorbacks and was named the starting quarterback by the second game of the season. During that season, he was 8-0 as starter before he was replaced by Casey Dick. In the wake of his benching, Mustain transferred to USC in 2007. Under NCAA transfer rules, he was forced to sit out the 2007 season but is eligible to play in 2008.
Strengths : Mustain flat out wins. Since junior high school, Mustain has compiled a record of 61-2 (.968) as a starting quarterback (9-1 in eighth grade in 2001, 9-0 in both ninth grade in 2002 and 10th grade in 2003, 12-1 in 11th grade in 2004, 14-0 in 12th grade in 2005 and 8-0 as a freshman at Arkansas in 2006). In addition to his experience on the big stage, Mustain is a fundamentally sound quarterback, who can make all the throws needed to be successful in college and the pros. He was rated the number one high school player in the class of 2006 for a reason.
Weaknesses : USC’s west coast offense is a fairly complex system and it can be quite challenging for a first or second year guy to be able to fully grasp it immediately. Mustain, who is only in his second year at USC, still needs to fully master the system and terminology so he does not hesitate when making decisions on the field.
Career highlights : He was the Gatorade National high school player back in 2006. As a freshman for Arkansas, Mustain led the Razorbacks to an 8-0 record as a starter while throwing for ten touchdowns. In fact, Mustain actually ran for a short touchdown against USC in the 2006 season opener. He has performed well in big games, completing 13 of 20 passes for 224 yards and three touchdowns against Vanderbilt and leading the Razorbacks to a 27-10 road victory against second ranked Auburn.