UA football quarterback Scroggins coming into his own
Junior transfer looks for fresh start in Arizona
Quarterback Jesse Scroggins went from being the second overall rated quarterback in the class of 2010, to backing up Matt Barkley at USC, to starting at El Camino Community College. But it seems that Scroggins might have found his place at the UA. Before arriving at Arizona though, the journey of the 6-foot-3, pro-style quarterback has been anything but conventional.
After being a backup to Barkley and never seeing the field, Scroggins decided it was time to transfer, and went to El Camino Community College in Torrance, Calif., for the 2012 season. On the field, Scroggins didn’t have the type of success one would expect from the second-rated high school quarterback. His experience, however, was anything but a failure.
“In [those] six month I think I learned more than I did in the past two years at [USC] because I was hungry,” he said.
While being at the bottom of the depth chart was already a humbling feeling for Scroggins, he said being around athletes who never had the chances he did was even more eye-opening.
Tyler Baker / Arizona Daily Wildcat The U of A Fooball team played a scrimage on Saturday that was open to the public. As the last practice of the season, the team practiced different scenarios that they could see in the regular season.
“Not everyone gets this chance, not everyone has the ability to play at this level,” he said. “I wasn’t really taking advantage of that, or it wasn’t really clicking in my mind as I got older, you know, I started to feel better about myself.”
His numbers weren’t outstanding at El Camino, completing 45.9 percent of his passes in eight games for 1,148 yards, eight touchdowns and five interceptions.
El Camino defensive coordinator Matt Kirk, who recruited Scroggins to the Warriors and helped market him to the UA, said his struggles were primarily due to Scroggins joining the team late.
“I thought Jesse struggled a little bit, as far as breaking reads,” Kirk said. “The West Coast stuff we did was a little different than the newer spread offenses. So I thought he probably got out [to El Camino] late … he basically had 16 practices in the summer before he went into camp.”
Scroggins was limited in spring practice this year as well, but this time due to a toe injury. Still, Arizona co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Rod Smith said he thinks Scroggins could be a very good fit for the Wildcats.
“We had a chance to see him do some things and he had some rust that showed,” Smith said. “We’re extremely excited about him. You can tell he’s a talented man.”
The rust was clearly evident in his very first pass attempt during the Spring Game. On Scroggins first play, he threw an interception to safety Tra’Mayne Bondurant. He finished 6-for-17 for 44 yards and two touchdowns.
“From what he did and where he’s been, it seems like he has definitely matured. When he talks to you, he’s intelligent,” Smith said. “He’s got his head screwed on right.”
Although Scroggins didn’t see the field, he said he still values the time he spent learning under Barkley.
“Matt Barkley did teach me some leadership roles, on and off the field,” Scroggins said. ”Keeping eye on the ball, being focused, not letting things distract you.”
There’s no guarantee Scroggins will be the starting quarterback for the Wildcats, as he is in a three-man competition with senior B.J. Denker and incoming freshman Anu Solomon.
But, for winning the starting job, Scroggins said it’s not about being confident but performing every day.
”It’s about, you know, doing your job,” Scroggins said. “You just need to compete and do all you can, on and off the field.”