When scouts first started investigating and analyzing the young 14 year old quarterback prospect out of Newport Beach, California, hyperbole was common when describing Matt Barkley. The freshman started for football power Mater Dei High School and went on to break many records as a prep star for the Monarchs.
As a 6’2″ 230 pound passing sensation, Barkley would start all four years in high school and be the number one rated high school football player in the country when he enrolled at the University of Southern California Trojans in January of 2009. But now Matt Barkley’s health might question his once praised future for the first time in his career.
Out of Notre Dame game
Barkley will not play in the upcoming contest against the #1 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (source – ESPN). It was stated originally that the senior had a sprained shoulder and the thought is that he had a separated shoulder as a result of a head tackle high into the upper back late in a loss to crosstown rival UCLA Bruins. Injuries at USC are hard to confirm due to head coach Lane Kiffin’s practice of not giving out injury information to the press; although, it was tweeted by CBS Los Angeles that Barkley had a separated shoulder (source – Twitter).
It should be noted in place of Barkley, 6’4″ 245 pound redshirt freshman Max Wittek, also of Mater Dei and Newport Beach, will start for 7-4 USC Saturday versus 11-0 Notre Dame. With the NFL looming, rushing Barkley’s health might put into question whether he will play in a bowl as well.
Coming out of high school, Barkley was once considered a cross between Joe Montana and Tom Brady – high praise for a 17 year old devout Christian who looked more like he should be surfing than playing football (source – N.Y. Times).
Back for glory
Then last season, it was thought that he would be a high first round draft choice and Barkley seriously considered entering the National Football League at that time. But then he decided to come back for his senior season at USC. It seemed glory and awards were his for the taking including being the front-runner for the Heisman Trophy.
Always considered a physically strong athlete, Barkley has rarely been taken out of a game for injury though he did break his collarbone at the end of his junior year in high school. But, other than a bruised shoulder that held him out of a game at Washington and a sprained ankle that ironically kept him out of the Notre Dame game, Barkley has been the starter in every USC Trojan game for the past four seasons.
The unexpected struggling year the Trojans have had might have hurt Barkley’s draft chances but it’s the current health and injury that may alter his career.
Different factors hurt his chances going forward
Barkley’s play this season has been inconsistent and while some have questioned his arm strength, he’s still regarded highly, heading into the 2013 NFL draft. His poor play has been a worry (source – USA Today) and now there’s concern, considering it was his throwing shoulder that was injured.
Did Barkley’s loyalty to his school and desire for glory hurt his chances of an excellent NFL career?
There are more than physical talents to judge when considering Matt Barkley. He has leadership and character intangibles that are second to none, plus his football knowledge is unquestioned.
Whether Barkley is able to return for a bowl game is still in question. The latest 2013 mock draft on CBS Sports by Rob Rang has Matt Barkley chosen fifth overall. Not all agree, so the question remains: When Barkley enters the NFL, should he be one of the top quarterbacks to be picked no matter any questions about his health?
Source – USA Today
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Daryle lived in Los Angeles Ca. most of his life and has been a longtime fan of USC and the Pac-12, having closely followed the Trojans since he was just a youngster. Fight On!