In what should come as no surprise to anyone, the nation’s top football player in the class of 2009 has committed to Pete Carroll and the USC Trojans. Matt Barkley, a 6’4 222-pound quarterback from Mater Dei High School, has long been considered a USC-lean, and finally made his decision public on Wednesday. Many see the timing of the announcement as meant to show that the Trojans will have no trouble recruiting in California despite the addition of Norm Chow to UCLA’s coaching staff. The news certainly did steal a little of “Slick” Rick Neuheisel’s thunder across town, as he had tabbed Barkley as the Bruins’ top-priority for next year. The No. 1 player in Rivals.com’s Top 100 for 2008 is now officially off the board.
Barkley comes from a USC pedigree, as his family has deep ties to the school (his dad played water polo at SC) and Mater Dei’s most famous quarterback, Matt Leinart, happened to win a Heisman Trophy playing there. I’m sure that helped a little in the decision process.
Barkley is most often compared to Carson Palmer by scouts and one even said he’s the best quarterback prospect to come out of California since John Elway. I don’t know what any of that means, since he hasn’t even played his senior year of high school but I’m sure we can all expect the kid to be pretty decent. He also became the first junior to ever to win Gatorade National Player of the Year while throwing for 3,560 yards and 35 touchdowns.
Barkley had this to say about his commitment:
“Today I called Coach Carroll to give him my commitment to becoming a Trojan. I am very excited about my decision, it is one that my family and I have give serious consideration to and have prayed about a great deal.
“I chose USC because I simply love the football program and because of the great education I will receive. There is an incredibly tradition of competition, excellence, enthusiasm and winning that I am excited to be a part of. I have the greatest respect for Coach Carroll, Coach Sarkisian and the entire coaching staff and what they have accomplished. I look forward to playing football for them”
Here is what he had to say about Chow and UCLA, after the speculation that he would give them a hard look:
“I have a lot of respect for Coach Chow and all and I think he’s a great coach but USC was just a better fit for me. I have a great relationship with the coaches there and I know a lot of the players there as well. The talent they have and the talent they are bringing in is very exciting and I’m just glad to be a part of the program.”