California has always been known as a state for excellent quarterback play and a place for colleges to come for their future signal caller. One field general that will make the Golden State a must stop for colleges this spring is Cody Kessler (6-2, 212, 4.8) from Bakersfield (Calif.) Centennial.
Kessler earned Area Player of the Year, first-team all-state (was the only junior quarterback on the team), and first-team all-league after throwing for 2,195 yards and 12 touchdowns in 10 games. He missed four games due to a high ankle sprain.
The scouting report on Kessler is he will be a rare three-year varsity starter when his senior season comes along. During that time he has developed his leadership skills and now has moved from a good leader to a great one. He's a great competitor and he manages a game really well. He doesn't force things out there on the field and makes good decisions.
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On the recruiting trail, Kessler already has two offers on the table from nearby Fresno State and one from WAC rival, New Mexico State. He is getting early recruiting attention from Washington, Boise State, Pittsburgh, Cal and when Coach Carroll was at USC, he heard from the Trojans a lot, but hasn't heard from the new regime. He has also received letters from Florida, LSU and Duke among others.
A hard worker, Kessler is planning to be very busy this offseason. He will be attending Steve Clarkson Dream Maker Camp at the end of February, but his quest for excellence doesn't stop there.
"I'm going to every camp that I can," Kessler said. "I'm going to all of the college camps. Every weekend I will be doing something.
""I'm going to the Elite 11 and NIKE Camp for sure," Kessler said. "We have gone as a team to Cal ever since I have been here (Centennial). We have been going there for four years and the two years that I have been player we have gone there.
"I don't know if we will go to Cal this year. We might go to a different camp or try to go farther, but it is pretty much up to our coach.
On his own, Kessler is planning to take in both USC and UCLA's camps. There is a good possibility that he will go to Cal's camp, too. Are there any other schools that he would like to camp at or take in their junior day.
"I hope to get to Pittsburgh as well," Kessler said. "I would like to take in Pittsburgh's junior day.
"I would also like to one in Washington," Kessler said. "I have already taken an unofficial visit to Boise State during football season so if can go up there I will, but if not I have already been up there and been around all the coaches.
What is Kessler looking for in a college?
"The biggest thing is how close I am to the coach," Kessler said. "I would like to get to know the coach since I am going to be with him for the next four years. I would like to know that he will stay there and not leave anytime soon.
"At first I was thinking that I would want to play close to home, but right now I'm just thinking whatever is best for me," Kessler said. "I would love to stay close to home so my family could come and watch me, but if it is the best fit for me is to go far away then that's totally fine by me. I don't that at all.
"I also want to study sports medicine and kinesiology because I want to be a trainer or something like that if football doesn't work out," Kessler said. "So I will definitely look at the education and all the basic stuff.
"Early playing time will also be a consideration," Kessler said. "I want to play early."
Will Kessler take all five visits before making his decision?
"I'm not sure," Kessler said. "The coaches that I have talked to, I have always told them that I want to wait awhile and not commit too early, but they said it is kind of tough and you kind of have to claim because they only offer one quarterback normally so if they offer another guy and you are still waiting on it and the other commits then you are kind of out of luck.
"I'm probably going to take a few visits, but once I know, I don't really have a timeline on it," Kessler said. "Once I know where I'm going to commit, I'm not going to mess around and wait try to make some drama. Once I know, I'm going to commit. I don't have a timeline on it.
"Probably my top schools right now are Boise State, Washington, Fresno State and Pittsburgh," Kessler said. "Those are probably the top schools that I am looking at right now and that I like talking to a lot.