Cameron Ward, Will Howard, Or Miller Moss. Who Will Be The USC Trojans Quarterback In 2024?

With Caleb Williams all but guaranteed to declare for the 2024 NFL Draft, the USC Trojans will turn to a new signal caller next season.

Talks and rumors in the Transfer Portal are heating up, and two big-name quarterbacks have been linked to USC. Cameron Ward from Washington State, and Will Howard from Kansas State. If either of these QBs commit to SC, who would be the better fit or is the correct answer already on the roster in Miller Moss?

The Case For Cameron Ward – USC Trojans Quarterback

NCAA Football: Washington State at California
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Cameron Ward is the prized QB jewel of this transfer portal class. 247Sports ranks him as the number three QB in the portal, primarily due to being a one-year rental as the two quarterbacks ranked ahead of him are true freshmen Dante Moore and Aidan Chiles. He is the 5th ranked overall player in the transfer portal.

The 6’2, 223-pound Junior began his collegiate career at Incarnate Word before transferring to Washington State in 2022 and starting two seasons for the Cougars. Ward gained national spotlight this season when the Cougars started 4-0 and knocked off Wisconsin and Oregon State. He finished the year with 3,735 yards, 25 touchdowns, and 7 interceptions.

Cameron Ward would be a prototypical type of QB to join Lincoln Riley. He would thrive in his system, and it’s hard to believe that he wouldn’t personally reap the benefits and skyrocket his NFL Draft stock. What Trojans fans would really love is this: against ranked teams, he completed 73% of his passes, throwing for 338 yards per game, with 8 touchdowns and 3 interceptions. He played great in big-time games.

Ward is set to meet with Miami on Tuesday, but the thought is that USC is still one of the frontrunners. Will Cameron Ward be the next great Lincoln Riley quarterback?

The Case For Will Howard

NCAA Football: Iowa State at Kansas State | Will Howard
Nov 25, 2023; Manhattan, Kansas, USA; Kansas State Wildcats quarterback Will Howard (18) passes the ball during the fourth quarter against the Iowa State Cyclones at Bill Snyder Family Football Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Sewell-USA TODAY Sports

There was plenty of buzz when it was announced that Lincoln Riley was in Manhattan, Kansas to pay a visit to Will Howard. Howard is the 4th ranked transfer portal QB just behind Ward.

At 6’5, 242 pounds, Howard has a big frame that can stand tall in the pocket. He is a bit of a different body type than who Lincoln Riley typically calls plays for, but he is still very athletic for his size. I don’t think anyone would confuse him for Kyler Murray or Caleb Williams, but he does have the ability to escape the pocket and extend plays with his legs. Last season he carried the ball 81 times for 351 yards and 9 touchdowns. His longest run came at the clip of 70 yards.

In terms of passing, Howard finished the season with 2,643 yards, 24 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions. Howard has playing time in all four seasons that he was at Kansas State, so he will bring a bevy of experience with him to Southern Cal.

As of this writing, Texas A&M seems to be the leader in the clubhouse, but USC still is one of the favorites, and the fact that Riley paid Howard an in-person visit pays dividends.

The Case For Miller Moss

NCAA Football: Nevada at Southern California
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Miller Moss is a true prototypical USC Trojans Quarterback. He grew up in the Los Angeles area cheering on the Cardinal and Gold. When he committed to USC, Clay Helton was the head coach. He began his collegiate career third on the depth chart, behind another freshman in Jaxson Dart, and incumbent starter Kedon Slovis.

When Lincoln Riley was hired, quarterback phenom Caleb Williams came with him. Dart hit the portal and transferred to Ole Miss. Moss stayed put, continuing to build his craft, and playing for the school he loves.

In 2022, five-star quarterback Malachi Nelson committed to SC. He was immediately heralded as the heir apparent to Williams (he still may be). Moss stayed patient and stayed loyal.

Based on everything that Lincoln Riley has said since the regular season has ended, Miller Moss should have a legitimate shot at the starting job, regardless of who transfers in. The coaching staff is bullish on Moss’s development and believes he has true potential to take over the reins. The one knock to roll with Moss is just the simple fact that he does not have the experience. Outside of getting some garbage time reps in blowout games, he hasn’t seen live action.

He will get the start in the Holiday Bowl against a good Louisville defense at the end of the month. This will be a great test for him, and a good indication to Lincoln Riley if he is ready to take that next step and take over as the next starting quarterback for the USC Trojans.

One thing is for sure, all of Los Angeles will be rooting for him.