Earlier this month, my good friend Aaron Torres, managing editor of crystalballrun.com and I publicly discussed Matt Barkley’s future. We both saw and understood both sides of his decision, but Torres shared his side of why he would stay, while I offered my feelings on why he should go.
Late this afternoon, Matt Barkley made his decision from Heritage Hall: the 2012 USC Trojan football team has some serious unfinished business to attend to and he intends to be a part of it.
Almost a year ago we heard the same decision facing Andrew Luck forego the NFL for one more season at Stanford; and the year before, with Jake Locker at Washington. Unfortunately for Locker, a real chance for a BCS title, the Heisman Trophy, and number one overall draft pick was out of reach. For Luck, he lost his hopes for a National Championship in November as the Cardinal was stunned by Oregon. He didn’t leave New York with the Heisman, and there have been rumblings (although shallow) that his first pick overall in the draft status could be determined by the health of Peyton Manning.
Barkley’s future success remains to be seen. He is immediately, with the majority of 2011 bowl games still yet to play, the favorite for the Heisman in 2012. Instantly, he catapulted to first overall in the 2013 NFL Draft. USC is now considered a pre-season top-five ranked team with a legitimate shot at a national title.
Good for USC, good for Lane Kiffin, good for Matt Barkley. Could it also be good for Robert Griffin III?
As far as the 2012 NFL Draft is concerned there is no more debate over who the second quarterback selected will be, Robert Griffin III is clearly the guy. Unless of course he opts to stay in Waco. But he isn’t faced with the same decision Barkley was; as Torres pointed out, Barkley is a USC kid and has been his whole life. He had a dozen reasons to stay, and could not find one compelling enough to leave. While the Heisman and overall number one pick are still very real possibilities, Griffin III will in all likelihood not be playing for a BCS Championship.RG3 already has a Heisman and the first pick overall is not a guarantee, just like this upcoming April. In the RG3 risk-reward debate, favor has to be put on reward’s side.
We will once again have to wait for a decision, probably at least a week. Griffin is focused on leading his Baylor Bears to victory over Washington in the Valero Alamo Bowl on December 29th.
Barkley announced his decision December 23rd, giving Trojan Nation an early Christmas present. Could Griffin III give the Baylor Faithful a reason to look forward to a Happy New Year? My gut tells me no, he won’t. But he may give Jags fans a reason to forget 2011.