Posted by Tom Fornelli
It's not a final decision by any means, but USC quarterback Matt Barkley has submitted paperwork to the NFL, though he has not yet declared for the NFL Draft. Barkley simply submitted his standard evaluation request that most draft-eligible juniors turn into the NFL when they're considering leaving school early to get a better idea of what NFL scouts and talent evaluators think of them.
If word comes back that Barkley should expect to be an early first round pick, it could sway his decision about whether to leave USC or return for his senior season. He has until mid-January to make his decision. Barkley is the second-ranked quarterback according to CBSSports.com's NFL Draft rankings.
Barkley filed the paperwork at the suggestion of his head coach, Lane Kiffin, though Kiffin hasn't made it a secret in recent weeks that he's hoping his quarterback comes back, even if he's not going to pressure him into it.
The 2012 season will be probation free for USC, which means that it will be eligible to play for a Pac-12 title and for a bowl game. With such a young and talented roster this season, there are many who believe that if Barkley were to return for his senior season that USC would be a legitimate threat to win a national title next season.