Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei quarterback Matt Barkley has been a longtime lean to USC and it always seemed like just a matter of time before he committed to the Trojans. Well that time came earlier today when the nation's top quarterback prospect decided he was ready to end the recruiting process.
Barkley, 6-3, 220 pounds is an incredible talent and earned just about every post-season award imagineable. Just a few included Gatorade National Player of the Year, CalHiSports Junior of the year and Joe Montana Quarterback of the Year Award.
We talked to Barkley earlier today about his decision. The following is a prepared statement sent from the family.
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"Today I called Coach Carroll to give him my commitment to becoming a Trojan," Barkley said. "I am very excited about my decision, it is one that my family and I have given 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 recieve. There is a incredible 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.
"I want to thank my family for all their love and support. I also want to thank Coach Rollinson and Coach Money for all they have taught me and thank my teammates at Mater Dei for making me a better quarterback. With this important decision made, I look forward to focusing completely on my senior year of high school football."
In addition to the above statement, we had a chance to talk with Barkley a little more about his decision including the timing of it and Coach Carroll's reaction.
"I felt now was a good time to commit because we start up football again next week," Barkley said. "I wanted to have the decision out of the way by then so I can just focus on our team and not have to worry about the distractions of recruiting.
"Coach Carroll was very excited when I called him. He's at the Senior Bowl right now and he was in his car when I called him. When I told him I was ready to commit, he started hollering and was pumped up. I went down to USC last Saturday and it just feels like home to me. There were some other great schools out there but USC was just the best fit for me."
The timing was also interesting in that there has been so much speculation in recent days that Barkley would give crosstown rival UCLA a hard look now that Norm Chow was the new OC.
"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," Barkley said. "I have a great relationship with all 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."