The David O’Brien Foundation is the latest to release its watch list, and USC QB Matt Barkley’s name is on it.
Barkley was a semifinalist for the award, given to the nation’s best quarterback, in 2011. There are two other Pac-12 QBs on the list, one being Keith Price, who was also a semifinalist last year.
Based on the way Barkley commanded the troops last season, being named to this watch list is expected: 3528 yards, 39 touchdowns to seven interceptions, and a completion rating of 69.1%. Barkley was actually statistically the best QB in the Pac-12 last year…but that’s a discussion for another day. He had some big time performances in the loss against Stanford, the thrashing of UW, and the destruction of UCLA in the final game of the season.
Barkley and his squad really bloomed in 2011, and with a 2012 team that returns the majority of its playmakers, expect him to absolutely go to town this year. Barkley still needs to prove that he can handle in-game adversity and win in the clutch; since his second game of his freshman year when he helped orchestrate a final minute comeback against Ohio State in the Horseshoe, Barkley and the Trojans have kind of fallen apart when the score is not in their favor. He needs to show that he can be a comeback QB, that he can rally the troops to victory when the game is on the line.
With the weapons, the coaching, and the poise that Barkley has, we could see him really become THE quarterback this year. This is his last chance to show he can do it all, and to give Trojan fans something to talk about come December.
In 2011, the David O’Brien Trophy went to Robert Griffin III of Baylor. If Barkley does win it, he would be the first Trojan to do so.