Playing quarterback in the Trinity League is a lofty goal for many young players. It’s an even bigger accomplishment to actually win the starting job.
Some enter the league believing they can stand tall in the huddle on a Friday night. Others don’t realize they have what it takes to play the position in one of the toughest leagues in the nation until they’re halfway through high school.
That could explain the influx of quarterbacks who transferred into the Trinity League since last season, many hoping to follow in the same paths as Carson Palmer, Matt Leinart, Matt Barkley and, most recently, JT Daniels.
Palmer and Leinart went on to win the Heisman Trophy at USC after playing for Trinity League schools, Barkley was a four-year starter for the Trojans before also heading for the NFL, and Daniels felt so ready to compete for the starting job at USC this fall that he bypassed his senior year at Mater Dei to get started with the Trojans this summer.
The movement of quarterbacks into the Trinity League also creates a domino effect, prompting other skillful signal-callers to bolt for different teams and opportunities if they feel they’re starting job is in jeopardy.
After Daniels announced he would skip his senior year at Mater Dei to enroll at USC, it didn’t take long for incoming junior Bryce Young to leap at the job opening, transferring from Cathedral High School in Los Angeles, where he had thrown for 3,431 yards and 41 touchdowns while leading the Phantoms to a 10-2 mark last season.
Carter Freedland, the only other player to throw a touchdown pass for the Monarchs last season, opted to transfer to Inland Empire powerhouse Corona Centennial after Young arrived on campus.
Servite also found itself looking for a starting quarterback this fall after Tyler McMahon graduated and incoming senior Caden Bell transferred to JSerra, where he’s in the running for the starting job.
Blaze McKibbin was obviously paying attention because he pulled up stakes at Westlake High School last month and transferred to Servite, his third school in less than a year.
McKibbin was the starting quarterback at Serra High School in Gardena last season and threw for 1,742 yards and 17 touchdowns, despite missing five weeks with a lacerated kidney.
He transferred to Westlake following the season, and practiced with the Warriors during spring drills, but he told 247sports.com last month that he was ready for the challenges of the Trinity League.
“I just felt like Servite was the best fit for me,” McKibbin said. “(Coach) Troy Thomas is basically a coaching legend and I’m really excited about the opportunity to play and work with a coach like Darnell Arceneaux. He trained guys like Marcus Mariota and Tua Tagovailoa at St. Louis high school and I know I’ll learn a lot from him.”
All four quarterbacks who threw a pass for Santa Margarita last season were seniors, led by Josiah Norwood, who transferred in from Buena Park and impressed enough to earn a scholarship offer from UCLA.
The battle for the starting quarterback this fall will likely come down to two transfers, Trilian Harris, who started as a freshman at Chaparral High School in Temecula last season, and Peter Costelli, another incoming sophomore who was slated to back up DJ Uiagalelei at St. John Bosco.