USC head football coach Lane Kiffin confirmed what many suspected on Thursday, as he announced that quarterback Matt Barkley would not be playing in the 2012 Sun Bowl thanks to an injured throwing shoulder. That announcement means that Barkley’s storied, record-shattering collegiate career is now over.
It’s a disappointment for USC fans who hoped they would get to see Barkley take the field one last time, especially after the four-year starter had suffered through the monumental NCAA sanctions that could have crippled USC’s football program.
Barkley had this to say about having to sit out of the final game of his collegiate career:
“I’ve worked as hard as I could to get back for this game and nature’s not allowing it and doctors aren’t allowing it, which is the most important thing – they’re looking out for my best interest. I trust their judgment.”
USC will start redshirt freshman Max Wittek against Georgia Tech on Monday instead.
Barkley threw for 3,273 yards in 11 games this season, with 36 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. He finished his career with a 64.1 percent completion percentage, and Pac-12 and USC records in passing yards (12,327), touchdowns (116). His 47 career starts is also a USC record.
Regardless of what you think of USC or head coach Lane Kiffin, Matt Barkley is undoubtedly the epitome of the term “student athlete.” For four years he has represented the best of what college football has to offer. His on-field exploits have been great, but off the field he has done so much for charity and been such a positive influence on the world around him in addition to being an outstanding student.
It’s too bad his college career had to end this way, but it’s fairly obvious that he’ll be playing on Sundays in the near future and no one will forget what he meant to USC as a university and a football program over the past four years.