Matt Barkley to Return to USC for Senior Season
According to the Los Angeles Times, junior quarterback Matt Barkley of USC will return for his senior season in 2012.
The 6’2 220 pound Barkley has started for the Trojans since his freshman year in which he has had plenty of success mixed in with struggles.
He led USC to a 10-2 record in 2011, and the team would have normally been eligible for a bowl game had they not been subject to sanctions from the Pete Carroll era.
Barkley’s withdrawal from the 2012 NFL Draft pool greatly lessens the value of the quarterback class in 2012, however, names like Landry Jones and Robert Griffin will rise even more.
USC has been ineligible for post-season action for the last two seasons, but will be able to challenge for the Pac 12 Championship and Rose Bowl appearance (if not more) in 2012.
Barkley was projected to be a surefire first round pick, likely being a top 10 selection, possibly top five.
NFL Soup did a scouting report on Barkley in October, 2011 and projected him as a late first round pick. His finish to the 2011 season has changed the minds of many scouts, but we will have to wait until the 2013 NFL Draft in order to see where Barkley is selected.
The good news for Barkley is that he will get his top two receivers in Marqise Lee and Robert Woods back for the Trojans’ 2012 run. However, junior left tackle Matt Kalil, who is projected as a top five selection in the 2012 NFL Draft, has announced that he will forgo his senior season.
Barring injury or poor play in 2012, Barkley should be a top draft pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, and will likely be the #1 quarterback on draft boards for the 2012 season.
Keet Bailey heads the NFL Draft division of NFL Soup. Bailey's 2012 NFL Mock Draft scored 12th overall among 112 participants according to The Huddle Report's Annual Mock Draft scoring contest. An avid Cleveland Browns fan, Keet hails from and resides in Ohio. Follow Keet on Twitter @NFLSoupKeet