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USC gets their own Luck: Barkley to return for another year

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In early January of this year, Andrew Luck surprised some observers by announcing that he was eschewing a shot at a certain spot inside the Top Five of the NFL draft and returning to Stanford.

Nearly a year later, another Pac-12 school has officially become the beneficiary of an even more surprising decision by the leader of its offense.

With an ornate Christmas tree setting the seasonally-themed scene: Matt Barkley announced at an on-campus press conference Thursday afternoon the one gift Trojan fans have been wishing for over the past few months: the quarterback will be returning to USC for one more season.  Barkley told his coaches and teammates of the news of his decision earlier in the day, a decision that was made after extensive conversations with his family, school officials and other advisers from the professional level.

“I know in my heart that I have not yet finished my journey as a Trojan football player,” the junior said. “Our USC football team has been through some tough times and we have persevered.  But the 2012 team has some serious unfinished business to attend to, and I intend to play a part of it.

“So, yes, I have firmly decided to forego the NFL draft in 2012 and finish this exceptional and unique journey that I’ve had here at USC.”

Based on the early draft projections, Barkley was a near-lock to be one of the first 10 players selected in the April NFL draft and, pending the pre-draft workouts, perhaps even a top-five selection.  Instead, he’s returning to solidify his legacy as one of the greatest Trojans in the football program’s storied history.

With the decision, Barkley immediately becomes one of the front-runners for the 2012 Heisman Trophy — perhaps the front-runner pending the NFL decisions of 2011 winner Robert Griffin III and this year’s other finalists, all of whom are draft-eligible — thanks to a 2011 season that saw him pass for more than 3,500 yards, 39 touchdowns and just seven picks.

More importantly is what Barkley’s decision means for the Trojans as a team.  Add Barkley’s return with the fact that 16 other starters from a 10-2 squad are expected to return as well, and it will likely equal the Trojans starting the 2012 season deep inside the Top Ten of the major preseason polls.

And, with the school finally eligible following a two-year bowl ban, a run at a Pac-12 championship and berth in a BcS bowl are certainly not out of the question and should probably be expected.  In fact, and even with the final chapter of the 2011 season not yet written, the Trojans would have to be considered one of a handful of legitimate national title contenders eight months or so out from the start of next season.

Thanks to Barkley’s unexpected decision, such talk is far from premature, regardless how far the start of the 2012 season is off in the distance.

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Permalink 19 Comments Feed for comments Latest Stories in: Pac-12 Conference, Rumor Mill, Top Posts, USC Trojans
19 Responses to “USC gets their own Luck: Barkley to return for another year”
  1. vanmorrissey says: Dec 22, 2011 4:09 PM

    NFL will always be there. Big money not like it used to be and he could be national championship bound, Heisman winner, and top pick next year. He’s a stud QB this year, next year, any year.

  2. nashvilletrojan says: Dec 22, 2011 4:12 PM

    FIGHT ON!!”

  3. uscatjerseyshore says: Dec 22, 2011 4:14 PM

    Outstanding. Great news!!! USC #1 2012 rankings.

  4. pikindaguy says: Dec 22, 2011 4:19 PM

    As unlikely as it may be, I hope Jim Mora makes him regret his decision come year end.

  5. wvugrad00 says: Dec 22, 2011 4:36 PM

    The only question I have comes from the mention of agents during his announcement. I understand everyone else he got input from but I am not sure mentioning he solicited feedback from agents was what USC wanted to hear today.

  6. th56 says: Dec 22, 2011 4:39 PM

    As a Duck fan I welcome him back. It should make the Pac 12 much more interesting. I followed both Luck and Barkley and in my opinion Barkley is the better player.

  7. whyalwaysthehate says: Dec 22, 2011 4:50 PM

    Remarkable. After a recovery from an early season benching Barkley positions himself for the money and is advised to pass? This may become one of the worst decisions since Leinart dropped like a rock. Change your mind kid and take the money. No one loses on a deal like this but you.

  8. mondzy805 says: Dec 22, 2011 4:58 PM

    At a Boy Matt. If the Trojans will a National Title next year, Matt will go down as the Greatest Trojan ever. Fight on USC.

  9. pasadenagal says: Dec 22, 2011 5:09 PM

    This is such great news for USC. After an outstanding season this year and the return of T.J.McDonald for his senior season, the Trojans will be the team to beat in 2012. I bet Matt can’t wait to mow down their opponent in a BCS Bowl game next year.

    FIGHT ON

  10. theglap says: Dec 22, 2011 5:22 PM

    Mathieu is not draft eligible.

  11. godzilla111111 says: Dec 22, 2011 5:34 PM

    One injury away from kissing 20 million goodbye. Bad Bad move.

  12. nlucas550 says: Dec 22, 2011 5:38 PM

    Sorry for pimping my site here.

  13. trojan33sc says: Dec 22, 2011 5:41 PM

    YEAH BABY, TROJANS ARE NOW IN BEAST MODE FOR NEXT SEASON !!

  14. olskool711 says: Dec 22, 2011 6:21 PM

    Don’t get too excited. The Trojan’s future is in the hands of Bill Hancock and Jim Delaney, not their ability to play football.

    If Delaney wants a three loss michigan team in the BcS crystal football game then it won’t matter what Barkley does. Its college football.

  15. sailbum7 says: Dec 22, 2011 7:48 PM

    It is great to see that at least some of these kids are opting to finish school and get their degrees so they have something to fall back on when their playing days are over.

  16. lawyermalloy says: Dec 22, 2011 7:52 PM

    It’s always irked me that a scholarship athlete calls a press conference to announce he’s HONORING his scholarship commitment to stay in school for the balance of his committment!

  17. cosanostra71 says: Dec 22, 2011 8:21 PM

    yes! so excited!

  18. crazyfootballfun says: Dec 22, 2011 9:58 PM

    I think he made the right call about coming back but the wrong call about the big press conference. Smacks of Lebron and the whole “heh, look at me, aren’t I cool?”

  19. pricecube says: Dec 23, 2011 1:09 AM

    I hope he took out a good insurance policy. I would hate to see him wreck his knee or something next year. Still, kudos for being one of those rare individuals not entirely driven by money.

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