Graduate transfer planning to enroll for spring semester and is immediately eligible for 2020 season
Former USC quarterback Jack Sears has committed to San Diego State as a graduate transfer who would enroll during the spring semester and be immediately eligible to play for SDSU during the 2020 season.
Sears has made several visits to SDSU over the past three months and reportedly signed a grant-in-aid this week. The document is binding for the university, although, unlike a National Letter of Intent, it does not prevent an athlete from still choosing another school.
Sears’ enrollment would not be official until he attends his first class of SDSU’s spring semester, which begins January 21. Aztecs coaches cannot comment on transfers until they have officially enrolled.
SDSU head coach Rocky Long said recently that the Aztecs planned to include a graduate transfer or freshman quarterback in their 2020 recruiting class. The presence of Sears would mean SDSU would not pursue a freshman quarterback when the 72-hour early signing period begins on Wednesday.
The Aztecs are losing senior quarterback Ryan Agnew, but redshirt freshman Carson Baker and junior transfer Jordon Brookshire are expected to compete in the starting quarterback battle that now will include Sears. Redshirt sophomore Mark Salazar and true freshman Joe Green are the other two scholarship quarterbacks on the roster.
This would mark the fourth time in six seasons that the Aztecs have brought in a transfer QB to compete at the position. Long, always intent on creating competition at each position, recently reiterated his philosophy on the subject.
“We don’t ever guarantee anybody a starting spot,” he said. “Some people will guarantee a starting spot for a transfer quarterback. Sometimes they mean it. Sometimes they don’t mean it. But to get the kid sometimes they’ll tell a kid that.
“We don’t do that. (A transfer) will be told that he’s coming in with a fair chance to be our starting quarterback. But the quarterbacks here have a fair chance to be our starting quarterback, too.”
Although a graduate transfer, Sears will be a junior in class standing with two years of eligibility remaining. The 6-foot-3, 205-pound QB was a four-star recruit out of San Clemente High, where New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold starred before going to USC.
Sears started one game as a redshirt freshman for the Trojans during the 2018 season. He completed 20 of 28 passes for 235 yards and two touchdowns in a 38-35 loss to Arizona State in place of starter J.T. Daniels, who had suffered a concussion a week earlier against Utah. Sears came into fall camp competing for the starting position, but emerged from camp No. 4 on the depth chart behind Daniels, Kedon Slovis and Matt Fink.
Sears entered the NCAA’s transfer portal on August 27 and tweeted that day, “If the plan doesn’t work, change the plan, but never the goal. The following statement is to clarify the situation and avoid speculation:
“The past week has been a difficult time, a bump in the road, and it makes me realize that life is not linear. I love my teammates, football, USC, and the USC degree. Nobody can ever take that degree away from me. I am proud of the work I have put in on and off the field, the way I competed, and how I have comported myself. Life is about making good and informed decisions.
“In an effort to make a good, informed, and non-rushed decision, it is time for me to enter the portal. A student-athlete must be in the portal for other universities and football programs to be allowed to contact them. In the meantime, I will continue to train and work out and have told Coach Helton that I am available if the team needs me. I wish the team nothing but success this season.
“I love USC, everything it stands for and will be proud to forever call myself a graduate of the University of Southern California. Fight On!!!”
In the 3 1/2 months since then, he has quietly gone about completing his degree in business administration while investigating other colleges.
USC head coach Clay Helton, interviewed by the Union-Tribune earlier this week about the Trojans’ upcoming appearance in the San Diego County Credit Union Holiday Bowl, was asked about Sears:
“Jack is an unbelievable teammate and a terrific football player. He is a terrific college football player. He’s done so much for our university and look forward to his next step, wherever it might be.
“Obviously, each quarterback that has ever been at USC, I believe, has elite arm talent. What Jack also brings is great athleticism. He has the ability, if you remember him playing in the Arizona State game, almost winning that game for us a year ago. He did it a lot with his creativity to be able to extend plays.”