Bill Plaschke has an interesting piece in the LA Times today, in discussion with USC quarterback Matt Barkley about what the future holds for the true-junior starting quarterback. Having started as a freshman, Barkley will have the opportunity to enter the 2012 draft. While he may not end up being the #1 pick ahead of Andrew Luck, he’ll still be taken off the board quickly if things go according to plan this year.
Interestingly, Plaschke’s conversation with Barkley appears to at least hint that turning pro is a distinct possibility for a quarterback who only turns 21 next week:
After surviving two of the most difficult seasons endured by any Trojans quarterback, Matt Barkley can finally, truly call USC home. Just in time for him to leave it.
Watch him closely for the next couple of months, because you probably won’t be seeing him around here again. Barkley is understandably hoping to use a second consecutive season with no bowl or championship hopes to obtain something even greater — an NFL future. Despite the daily pleadings from his coach and what will certainly be an autumn’s worth of love from his fans, Barkley is probably in his final year here, and can you blame him?
He’s already a senior academically. By the time the year is finished, he will have given the school three seasons with only one turmoil-filled Emerald Bowl in return. He’s done his time. He’s made his mark. Yes, he would become a campus legend if he stays in school to lead them out of probation next season, but who goes to college to become a campus legend?
“I came to USC to prepare myself for a job,” he says. “That job just happens to be football.”
Barkley declaring is a subject we’ve discussed quite a lot already and one we will no doubt go into frequently during the new college football season. During the summer I wondered whether he’d lean towards staying at USC for a fourth year starting when the Trojans will be able to compete for a bowl berth and also the PAC 12 title. That can’t be ruled out yet, but it’s interesting to see Barkley talk openly about the possibility of turning pro.
It would certainly help improve an over-rated quarterback class in 2012 that contains depth without necessarily elite talent. Luck and Barkley being available for NFL teams next April will offer a rare opportunity to select a fortune changing player and a potential winner for years to come. That is of course unless Cincinnati and Oakland are picking #1 and #2. Then there won’t be any winning involved. Just frustration.