Commentary

Where Barkley falls short of Luck

USC's QB has elite potential but, to get to that level, he has improvements to make

Updated: September 24, 2011, 11:33 AM ET
By Brock Huard | ESPN Insider
Matt BarkleyStephen Dunn/Getty ImagesMatt Barkley is off to a good start in 2011, but Arizona State's defense will provide a serious test.

In the fantasy football and stats-driven world we live in, it's simple and clean to evaluate quarterbacks by looking at the cover of the book titled "Yards and Touchdowns." And for this book, USC Trojans quarterback Matt Barkley would make a great cover boy.

He fills out the prerequisite requirements for a USC quarterback perfectly. He is broad-shouldered, sturdily built, quick to flash the surfer smile yet fiercely competitive and willing to slay opponents in the Coliseum. Former coach Pete Carroll adored him the first day Barkley set foot on campus, just as many talent evaluators do today. Simply put, there is a lot to like in Barkley's game and the unwavering leadership he has displayed in carrying the Men of Troy through difficult, sanction-filled waters the past two seasons.

But if there is one thing that top-level quarterback play -- and the evaluation of it -- is not, it's simple. And a closer look at Barkley's performance and his numbers reveals that the QB still has a clear weakness that he must improve upon in order to reach the Andrew Luck stratosphere of elite, franchise-QBs-in-the-making.


To read Brock Huard's full take on Matt Barkley, and what the USC passer must do to catch up to the elite standard set by Andrew Luck, become an ESPN Insider today.

• College football analyst for ESPN
• Six-year NFL QB and three-year starter at University of Washington
• Co-host of the Brock and Danny Show on ESPN 710 AM in Seattle