Recruit Profile: QB Matt Barkley

From a quarterback standpoint, the class of 2009 may be the most well-stocked position recruiting wise. One of the headliners in that class figures to be Matt Barkley (6-3, 222) from Mater Dei HS in Santa Ana and though Barkley still has another month left in his sophomore year of high school, two schools have already gotten a head start and verbally offered him a scholarship.

Colorado got the ball rolling, offering Barkely in late April. Then early last week, new Florida State offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher told Barkley that the Seminoles were offering him.

"I was stoked to get an offer from some awesome D-I schools," said Barkley. "It was a really cool to see Coach Hawkins down at the school. It just kind of happened. I was pretty surprised and I was excited."

And of course, most of the Pac-10 schools have made Barkley aware of their intent to recruit him over the next couple of years.

"Growing up in Southern California, I've been a Pac-10 fan. USC, UCLA, all of the great schools and other schools like Notre Dame and LSU. I'm definitely keeping an open mind and not thinking of just one school," said Barkley. "And other schools, like Cal, I'm interested in. Coach Tedford is a great quarterback coach. Stanford, Ohio State, Nebraska, Oregon, Washington and Hawaii. I'm just trying to look at it pretty open minded."

And though he insists he's not a lock for anyone school, Barkely did key on the school his father went to and who's had a little bit of success at Mater Dei.

"USC has an awesome program," said Barkley. "Matt Leinart, obviously came out of there and it was great to see what he did. My dad played water polo and swam at USC, so I did grow up rooting for USC. I wouldn't say that has too much of an impact of where I'm going. But I definitely grew up being a Trojan fan, going to their youth camps and practices."

In fact, Barkley did take in some practices for the Trojans this spring.

"Earlier this spring, I went to their practices and talked to Coach (Pete) Carroll and to Coach Sark (Steve Sarkisian)," said Barkley. "The practices are awesome there."

With 21 months until he can sign a letter of intent, Barkley said his focus really isn't on recruiting.

"Honestly, I haven't thought about when I was going to announce. I was just excited when I got my first letter, from Willamette (an NCAA D-III school). Then I had just been getting questionnaires that I have been filling out. Every time I got one it made me pretty happy. Now I'm getting offered by schools," said Barkley.

With the recruiting game going faster than he anticipated, Barkley said his main focus is continuing the success that Mater Dei has long had, and even more specifically, of the quarterback tradition.

Barkley will enter his third year as the starting quarterback for the Monarchs in 2007, he was the first freshman to ever start the season behind center. So he knows all about the history of the position.

"We have a Heisman Lane, with Matt Leinart and John Huarte so it's definitely given me something to look to," said Barkley. "But even my freshman year, I didn't feel any pressure. My teammates, they did a great job of welcoming me into the program. Mater Dei just has a great quarterback tradition."

And as he's spent more time leading the Monarch offense, it's become more and more like second nature.

"Each week over the past two years, I've grown more comfortable in the pocket and the game has slowed down," said Barkley. "I feel a lot more at ease with the ball in my hands and I have a great team to lead. I have all my receivers coming back, which is always a good thing. My cousin Robbie (Boyer), Carlo Valdes and Andrew Abbott. Then I have Khaled Holmes protecting my back end. We've got a great group of seniors that are bonded together, plus the kids in my grades and then the sophomores coming up. We're going to have a good year."

Barkley has been training with noted quarterback coach Steve Clarkson, attending the Air 7 QBU earlier this spring in Los Angeles and in Pittsburgh.

"I started going to him the summer before my ninth grade year and he did a great job of preparing me," said Barkley. "I can always learn something new and its been great to see quarterbacks from other parts of the country. There is always something to work on and always something to get better at."

And of course, he's had legendary Mater Dei coach Bruce Rollinson to play for the past two years.

"Coach Rollinson has done a great job of coaching these teams. I think he's the best coach in the West, and he's done a good job of preparing me and giving me insight. We're getting ready for spring football."

Barkley said his summer will mainly consist of passing league tournaments, though he'll be attending the Nike Camp at Stanford later this month.

A well-rounded student athlete, Barkley volunteers at a local youth center doing tutoring and he's carrying a 4.1 GPA.


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