Matt Barkley stays at USC for 2012 season

On Thursday, Matt Barkley gave USC fans an early Christmas present by announcing that he will stay in school for the 2012 season and forego the 2011 NFL draft.

Speaking in front of teammates and family at USC’s Heritage Hall, Barkley spoke of “unfinished business at USC” and of getting his degree.  He acknowledged that he feels he is NFL ready, but will put it on hold for one more year with the Trojans.  The announcement was met with cheers of more than a couple hundred people in attendance waiting to hear of what the junior’s decision would be.

USC will be bowl eligible for the first time since sanctions came down from the Reggie Bush scandle a couple years ago and I’m sure that played a part in Barkley coming back.  The Trojans finished with a 10-2 record and a #5 overall ranking in 2012. 

The 6’2″, 220 lb. Barkley finished his junior year by passing for 3,528, 39 TD’s and only seven INT’s.  Like Andrew Luck this past season, he will unquestionably return for his senior year as the favorite to win the Heisman Trophy. 

In terms of his team next year, the team will lose OT Matt Kalil to the NFL draft (he should go top 5), but will return top safety T.J. McDonald (yes, Tim McDonald’s son) and top reciever, Robert Woods. 

As far as the draft goes, we all figure that Andrew Luck will go first overall.  Barkley was projected to be a top ten pick, but with Robert Griffin III rapidly climbing the draft board, he could fall a few notches, which obviously would cost him money.  Since the new CBA, the payout for draft picks is more structured and doesn’t pay as much as it did in the past, which also could have played a part and as we saw with Sam Bradford, as long as he doesn’t sustain a significant injury, it should’nt hurt his draft status.

Matt Barkley did something that very few have done before him;  he passed on becoming a millionaire.  Sure Barkley will make that up during the following season’s NFL draft, but he said he loved college life and the campus lifestyle at USC.  I applaud him for his decision (eventhough I’m an ASU fan) to stay in school and do something that you can only do once in your lifetime.  Few athelete’s have had the moxy to do so but it seems they fully grasp what’s going on around them and take things in stride.  Congrats to Barkley on his decision and oh, don’t worry, that money will still be waiting for him when he comes out after next season.

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