« Football 2015

Cody Kessler

University of Southern California
Bachelor's: Sociology Master's: Communication Management


Cody Kessler graduated from USC in the spring of 2015 with a degree in sociology. He is currently pursuing his master’s degree in communication management from the prestigious Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. Annenberg is the number-one ranked school for communication in the nation.


Cody Kessler’s character is second to none. He is well-known by his team, university and community as a man of integrity, compassion and humility. Most football captains are selected because of the leadership they display on the field. While this qualification would also apply to Kessler, his teammates and coaches chose him as a captain because of his character and the fact that he puts everyone else first.

Considering the outstanding season that Kessler had in 2014, it would have been a viable option for him to leave for the NFL. But Kessler has been very open about the fact that he did not return to win a Heisman Trophy or to earn All-American status. He never wanted to leave Troy when he still had the opportunity to lead the USC football program and contribute to its success. The team is Kessler’s sole focus.

Kessler is widely known for his character. His teammates and those in the Los Angeles community acknowledge him as a role model. Not only do his coaches, teammates and fans recognize these attributes, but the media does as well. In an article published in July in the LA Times, reporter Gary Klein was quoted as saying, “Cody Kessler did not court the attention that accompanies inclusion in the Heisman Trophy discussion.  ‘I’m from Bakersfield,’ USC’s quarterback said Friday during Pac-12 Conference football media day. ‘I don’t need a whole lot of anything.’” Being known as a man of character is what Kessler values above all else.


USC’s Cody Kessler not only shows his leadership as a quarterback on the field but also in the community. Amid Kessler’s busy academic and athletic schedule, he goes beyond expectation to represent the Trojans in a variety of philanthropic projects. During the season, the Trojans adopted 9-year-old Joey Rodriguez who suffers from a terminal brain tumor and made him an honorary member of the team. Kessler took Joey under his wing and formed a special bond with him. In addition to seeing him at practices and games throughout the fall, Kessler gave him personal tours around campus and spent the time to genuinely get to know the boy. Kessler even made an appearance at Joey’s birthday party.

Kessler also volunteered at the Special Olympic World Games where he participated in the first annual Trojan Games. This event, designed to inspire a new generation of special athletes, gave Kessler an opportunity to have one-on-one interaction with children, teaching them about football, stretching and nutrition.

Swim with Mike is a cause that is special to USC, as Mike Nyeholt, the charity’s namesake, is a Trojan. In the 35th Annual Event, which was held in March of 2015, Kessler swam the honorary first lap alongside scholarship recipient, Jake Olson.

Kessler’s heart for charity extends to the Los Angeles community, as well, as he has participated in many events in which he has worked closely with children to act as a role model and stress the importance of school and encourage them to strive for academic excellence.


Heisman Trophy and All-American candidate Cody Kessler is the nation’s most accomplished quarterback entering the 2015 season. After having the most efficient passing season in USC history, he returns for his third season as the Trojans starting quarterback. He has a pass efficiency of 67.9 percent with 59 touchdowns and only 12 interceptions in only two seasons. Kessler was ranked third nationally in completion percentage (69.7%, first in Pac-12), fourth in both passing efficiency (167.1, second in Pac-12) and passing touchdowns (39, second in Pac-12).

In 2014, Kessler set USC season records for completions (315), completion percentage (69.7), passing efficiency (167.1) and interception rate (1.11), while tying USC season marks for touchdown passes (39) and 300-yard passing games (7). Against Power 5 opponents, his passing efficiency (160.2) was third-best in the nation, his completion percentage (68.8%) and passing touchdowns (29) were second best nationally. No quarterback in the nation threw as many passes as Kessler while having only five interceptions. Kessler and 2014 Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota were the only quarterbacks in the nation to throw at least 35 touchdowns with just five or fewer interceptions. He threw for at least 300 yards in seven games in 2014, including one for 400 yards. He threw at least four touchdowns six times in 2014. His 3,826 passing yards were second on USC’s single season record list, and his 3,674 yards of total offense were third on USC’s season chart.