USC freshman quarterback J.T. Daniels has been entered into the team’s concussion protocol after getting roughed up on the road against Utah Saturday night. USC’s quarterback depth looks to be even more a concern this week as head coach Clay Helton announced backup quarterback Matt Fink broke three ribs in the same game.
Because of the injuries to the top two quarterbacks on the depth chart, the Trojans will prepare redshirt freshman Jack Sears to be the team’s starter this week.
“I’m a big fan of Jack. I always have been,” Helton said on Sunday. “If he’s given the opportunities, I think he’ll do a great job.”
Daniels has been USC’s starter all season as a true freshman. Because he has already played in seven games for the Trojans this fall, he cannot use the 2018 season as a redshirt season. Players can appear in up to four games without burning a redshirt year under a modified NCAA rule regarding redshirt eligibility. How serious the concussion issue remains to be seen, as they can be difficult to predict.
Sears did not play in 2017 and has yet to get the chance to record any passing stats this season. The former four-star dual-threat quarterback is not guaranteed to start this week, but if Daniels is not medically cleared to return, then it will be up to sears to guide the offense for however long he is needed.
USC hosts Arizona State this Saturday. Tied with Utah in the Pac-12 South, USC loses the tiebreaker for the top spot with the head-to-head loss at Utah, which means USC needs to finish the season ahead of Utah in the division in order to play for the Pac-12 championship.