It's Official: Matt Barkley Returns For His Senior Season at USC

It’s official. Matt Barkley is returning for his senior season at USC, foregoing the chance to be a top ten pick in the 2012 NFL Draft. The stage setup sort of gave it away. He’ll get ripped by some for having the audacity to shirk the shield. He’ll get praised by some for “staying in school,” but ultimately this is about what he values. College is college. The NFL is a job.

Barkley went to USC to go to Rose Bowls, to compete for BCS titles and to win the Heisman trophy. Next year is his first opportunity to do so. He is the guy who held USC together through a dark period. He could be the hero who returns them to the top. He gets that opportunity once. The NFL money will be there in 2013. He might not maximize his earning potential, but how do you put a price on a dream college season?

This is huge for USC and Kiffin. Scholarship reductions start this winter. The Trojans essentially have a one-year window next year to shoot for a BCS title before depth issues drag them down. They have the supporting cast returning. They just needed the best quarterback in college football. Expect a top five ranking.

[Photo via Getty]

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