It was announced on Wednesday that Matt Barkley would be holding a press conference on Thursday to state whether he would enter the upcoming NFL Draft or return to USC for his senior season.
Image credit: ESPN.com
The press conference was to be aired on ESPN, which drew some eerie similarities to a certain Mr. James who plays for a basketball team in Miami. The difference was that Barkley did not choose for it to be on ESPN, and he was not going to be interviewed by a sports journalist who was not liked by many.
Barkley got onto the podium in front of his family, coaches, and the USC marching band to announce his decision. He started off by saying that he took a lot of time to think about his decision, and then announced that he was going to stay at USC.
Barkley, a three year starter at USC, made a great decision in coming back for his senior season.
For one, he made a great move as a teammate. He already could have transferred to a different school after the two year bowl-ban was announced prior to his sophomore season. Instead, he decided to stay and build off of an impressive freshman season.
This year, with USC ineligible for any post-season play, Barkley had an outstanding season. He threw for 39 touchdowns and only 7 interceptions. In his last two games against Oregon and UCLA, which were both won by USC, Barkley threw for a combined ten touchdowns. Those two teams were also the two to compete in the Pac-12 Championship Game. The Trojans finished 10-2, and likely would have been in the Rose Bowl if not for the bowl ban.
Leaving for the NFL would be an easy choice for many college football players, especially for Barkley who was a projected top-ten draft pick. He was rated the second QB behind Andrew Luck in most projections, and would have been a great pick for teams in need of a quarterback. A team like Cleveland may be in the race for a QB, and will have to look elsewhere for one now that Barkley is out of the picture.
With Barkley returning to school, the next best option at quarterback seems to be Heisman Trophy Winner Robert Griffin III. Some analysts are still not sold on his pro potential, but it is tough to ignore his skill set simply based on watching his games.
Matt Barkley will now be pegged as the early favorite for the #1 pick in the 2013 draft, the same way that Andrew Luck is the presumed top pick in the upcoming draft. As long as he continues at his current pace, Barkley should be able to lead USC to the Pac-12 title, and possibly an appearance in the BCS Title game. It is still early, but with how well he has played in his three seasons at USC, it is tough to doubt Matt Barkley.