If you would’ve told me back in high school that I would be the starting quarterback for USC, I wouldn’t have believed you.
I wasn’t a five-star recruit or anything, so I didn’t exactly have a ton of big-time offers pouring in. But then one day during my junior year, I got the call that USC would be coming to watch me throw. I remember telling my dad, “Hey, if USC offers me, everyone is going to offer me.” And he just looked at me and said, “If USC gives you an offer … then what else are we waiting for?”
After that morning practice, I went to lunch and my phone started ringing — it was Coach Ellis offering me a scholarship. Everything changed that day…. I was so excited I scheduled my visit immediately, I literally couldn’t wait. My parents came with me on the trip, and it’s so funny, we had no idea where the campus even was — all we knew was “it’s in L.A.” The minute we turned onto Jefferson Blvd, though, the whole scene changed … it’s hard to explain. It’s like I got this wave of a feeling.
The more we walked around campus, the more I was blown away. My parents’ biggest thing was the academics, so as soon as they heard about what a good education I’d be getting, they were sold. I remember we were sitting there, in Coach Helton’s office, and had this really cool moment — where they’re looking at me, like, What do you think?? And I’m looking right back at them, like, This is the place. That Saturday, before we left, I committed to USC and became a Trojan. One of the best days of my life.
My freshman year was everything I could’ve hoped for. I came into the season ready to compete — and when I got my shot to start in the Stanford game, I knew there was no looking back. I was so proud to be the quarterback of our team, and I was proud of the season that we put together.
And I won’t lie: I thought we would continue that success throughout my career. But football is kind of like life — you can’t control everything. Whether it’s injuries, or having to navigate a season with COVID and so many unknowns…. some things you just don’t plan for. And everything didn’t go as I planned during the rest of my time at USC. There were obstacles, for sure, and we didn’t win all the games we wanted to. But that didn’t stop me from giving all that I had to this team over these last three years. That much I promise you. None of those uncontrollables ever stopped me from working as hard as I could, or from wanting to be a leader for this team.
And I’m hoping that, if anything, the hurdles I’ve had to overcome have taught me a lot about how to succeed going forward. I’m hoping they’ve made me a better quarterback, and a better man.
USC will always be a special place to me. But now it’s time for me to start a new chapter. For my next two years of eligibility, I’ll be playing quarterback at the University of Pittsburgh.
I was so excited when Coach Narduzzi called, because I knew that Pitt and this program were the right fit for me to keep developing into the best leader I can be. I’m ready to win now — and talking to the players who are returning, and seeing how hungry they are for next season, that got me pumped. They have a lot of talented players coming back. And, man … getting to throw the ball to the guy who just won the Biletnikoff?? That’s something you don’t pass up. The culture and identity that Coach Narduzzi has created is everything I want to be a part of.
To everyone at USC including my coaches, teammates and the entire staff: Thank you for everything. I’m glad I was a Trojan. I’ll always be one.
And to everyone at Pitt: I’m feeling incredibly grateful for the opportunity to be a Panther — and I can’t wait to prove myself again on this stage.
Let’s go win some football games.