USC Football Accepts First Self-Imposed Sanction

Greg Biggins at reports Bakersfield high school quarterback Cody Kessler announced today that he is committing to play college football at USC.

Cody Kessler

Kessler’s verbal commit comes reportedly less than 48 hours before the NCAA is due to release findings from a four-year investigation of the USC football program.

Biggins reports that Kessler turned down scholarship offers from Alabama, Pitt, Arizona State, UCLA, Boise State, Nebraska, Fresno State and Washington and that, “Kessler was a day away from committing to the Huskies when USC offered a scholarship back in mid May.

Kessler, who will be a high school senior this season, plans to attend USC next spring and sign his letter of intent in February.

In reading through all the press coverage of Kessler’s signing, including from the Bakersfield media, there’s nary a mention of possible sanctions that could soon wrack the Trojan program. (Save Gary Klein at the L.A. TIMES.)

Instead we get this:

“I’ve liked USC for a long time and it’s a dream come true to be able to play there. They have so much tradition and have been the dominant program in college the last six or seven years. I have a great relationship with Coach (Clay) Helton and Coach (Lane) Kiffin and the depth chart sets up really well when I get there and I think I’ll be able to come in and compete for playing time pretty early.

“I still have my whole senior season ahead of me and that’s where my mind is at right now but at the same time, I’m just really excited to already be a Trojan and have this decision made and out of the way.”

Perhaps Kessler thinks that if he doesn’t commit now, his scholarship offer might be pulled by Kiffin. And of course, he can always de-commit in the future.

Klein also notes:

Kessler is the seventh player from the Class of 2011 to make a verbal commitment to Coach Lane Kiffin and the Trojans.

Other players who have verbally committed are Mission Viejo High linebacker Tre Madden, Santa Ana Mater Dei receiver Victor Blackwell, Crenshaw running back/defensive back De’Anthony Thomas, Mater Dei quarterback Max Wittek, Woodland Hills Taft defensive lineman Antwaun Woods and Las Vegas Bishop Gorman defensive lineman Jalen Grimble.

Many of those commits came well in advance of the NCAA’s looming announcement. But in Kessler’s case, what’s the rush? He couldn’t wait until the findings from the NCAA were announced in the next day or three?

With the bizarre timing of this sign, I’ll never, ever doubt the persuasive skills of Lane Kiffin.