Southern California junior quarterback Matt Barkley said Wednesday that he has submitted paperwork to the NFL Draft advisory board, a customary procedural move followed by many draft-eligible underclassmen.
Barkley, appearing on ESPN's SportsCenter, said he's simply following the plan he had all season.
"Don't think too quickly," he said. "I think it's something that every top recruit or potential draftee does before thinking about going out. It's just kind of evaluation, I don't think it's even that detailed. Just listing a potential round you'll go in."
Draft-eligible underclassmen have until Jan. 15 to declare for the 2012 NFL Draft.
Barkley, NFLDraftScout.com's No. 2-ranked quarterback prospect and projected as a top-five overall pick, said he would be tempted to leave USC if he's ranked as a high-round pick by the NFL scouts who make up the advisory board.
He told the Los Angeles Times that his father, Les, is handling the behind-the-scenes plan, including meeting with prospective agents.
"As of now, I'm still 50-50," Barkley said. "I haven't decided."
Should Barkley return, he'll be eligible for an NCAA-provided insurance policy for players who return to complete their final season of college eligibility. Reportedly, Stanford redshirt junior quarterback Andrew Luck has a $5 million policy.
The draft advisory board is composed of personnel directors and general managers from NFL teams and the directors of the NFL's two scouting services, which discuss each applicant and give them an appraisal of their draft standing based on current information available. Of course, player interviews with teams, workouts at their campus Pro Day and scouting combine and detailed medical evaluations make any draft projection subject to change.
Players receive a written evaluation provided they submit their paperwork to the board by mid-December.
The NFL said in April that it typically evaluates between 140-150 players per year through the application process.