Arizona transfer quarterback Scroggins gets opportunity for playing time
Prior to Saturday’s spring football game at Sancet Stadium, Wildcat fans didn’t know too much about Arizona transfer quarterback Jesse Scroggins, other than he was recruited by USC and backed up then-Trojans starter Matt Barkley for two seasons.
Saturday was Scroggins’ first opportunity to get some game action and playing time in front of fans and the media, as he’s been limited with a foot injury since joining the team in January.
“He’ll be OK. Again, this was his first true practice,” head coach Rich Rodriguez said. “He’s gotten a little healthier and done a little throwing and seven-on-sevens, but we wanted to throw him in there and he felt good.”
At 6-foot-3, 210 pounds, Scroggins is a substantially-sized quarterback. Leaving the pocket and running with the ball isn’t his first option, but he’s light enough on his feet that he has the option to if needed. Leaving a West Coast offense at USC and coming to Rodriguez’s spread option can be a difficult transition, but Scoggins has made the best of it and said he feels right at home.
“I feel comfortable [at Arizona],” Scroggins said. “I feel this is the place I’m supposed to be at.” Even though he entered the program injured, it didn’t limit him from gaining valuable knowledge going forward.
“[This spring] was a lot of mental reps. I’m here now and I feel better than I ever have been.”
The only noticeable adjustment Scroggins said he has had to deal with was leaving the big city glitz and glamour of Los Angeles to come to a college town where football doesn’t play little brother to any professional sport.
Even though he was a high school All-American, Scroggins left USC because he struggled to separate himself from fellow backup Trojan quarterbacks Cody Kesser and Max Wittek, who are currently competing to replace Barkley.
Scroggins took a detour before coming to the desert, playing one season at El Camino Junior College in Torrance, Calif. Following a successful season with the Warriors, in which he threw for 1,148 yards in eight games, Scroggins made the decision to move to Tucson despite the quarterback battle with senior B.J. Denker and incoming high school All-American Anu Solomon.
“As a competitor, as tall as I am, as much as I weigh, [with] all my might, I’m going to compete,” Scroggins said about the upcoming quarterback battle.
For the most part, Scroggins, and the rest of the team, are on their own until August when the Wildcats begin practice. It will be up to Scroggins to get healthier and master Rodriguez’s offense if he wants to start August 30 in the season opener against NAU.