With Matt Barkley announcing that the he will return for his senior season, the potential Heisman Trophy hopeful has immediately impacted the national title picture heading into next season.
But with his decision to stay, it has more importantly had a direct impact on his team and its psyche as they head into the offseason.
When Matt Leinart decide to return for his senior season after winning the Heisman Trophy and leading the team to a National Championship, it immediately raised the bar back up in everyone’s mind and we knew that there couldn’t be any excuse to not make it back to the National Championship game.
But it was the fact that he gave up possibly being the first quarterback selected in the draft, and the millions of dollars that come along with it, to come play with us for one more year showed that he had confidence in our team, which resulted in us elevating our game to an even higher level.
“There are a lot of talented quarterbacks out there, but not all of them can be top-10 picks in the NFL.” said former USC All-American center Ryan Kalil. “So the fact that we had an NFL-caliber quarterback coming back, and not just a returning college starting quarterback, did a lot for the teams psyche.”
Like Leinart, Barkley has already had the same impact on his team.
“Barkley is a great quarterback and the leader of our team, and by him coming back it shows us that’s its not all about the money for him, but rather that the team is what he really cares about," offensive tackle Kevin Graf said. "That’s what gives us the confidence that we can win the National Championship.”
Almost all football players start playing the game with one goal in mind -- to play in the NFL. Both Leinart and Barkley postponed their ultimate dream of the NFL by leading their teams their senior year.
History has shown how Leinart’s sacrifice had USC playing in the National Championship the next season, and with a lot of sweat and blood, maybe history will repeat itself now that Barkley is back under center for the Trojans.