Barkley leads way at Dana Hills

Mater Dei quarterback Matt Barkley would be a valuable asset to any Division I college roster next season. The only problem, of course, is that Barkley will again be suiting up for the Monarchs in his senior season.

In watching the 6'3" 225 pound junior-to-be, it's so easy to get lost in his quick release, strong arm and leadership ability, the fact that he won't be signing with a college until 2009 makes it all the more impressive.

As for right now, Barkley is content to wait out the recruiting process.

"I want to get through the season and see what comes after that. I'm not in a rush or anything right now. I'm excited for all that's come my way so far and I thank God every day for that. I'm going to take it slow."

What Barkley isn't taking slow, however, is his time on the field.

"I have two years starting experience, so that definitely helps. I'm composed on the field overall, and I can see the defense, where the holes are, and where to put the ball on each play. I can read which defenders are going where; my coaches have coached me up well in that area. I know what to do on the football field."

Barkley excelled in the Dana Hills passing tournament, leading his Mater Dei team to a 4-0 mark including wins over Long Beach Poly and Servite.

"I love these passing league tournaments," he said. "Last year, we came up a little shy of what we could have done. But now we've got a great group of receivers and defensive backs here. And nobody is rushing me, so I've got all the time in the world. I love it."

Of course, Barkley understands that he can continue to improve.

"My consistency can get a little better," he said. "I've been kind of all over the place for the last couple of years. I'm going to work on my accuracy and not getting flustered. I just want to throw the ball."

He'll need to throw the ball this year if Mater Dei is going to have another successful season under Barkley's leadership.

"As a quarterback, I know my team looks up to me on the field in terms of where to go with the ball. I know they see me as a leader.

"We have a tough schedule, as usual, this season. We play in a tough league and have a hard pre-season schedule as well. But we're ready this year. We're ready to win a championship. I have all my receivers returning. We have a great line coming back and the defense is going to be punishing."

Asked about his college options, Barkley said, "I don't have a favorite right now. I'm looking real closely at all the offers I have right now, because I obviously have a chance to go to all those schools.

This summer I might take some trips to schools that are farther away. I've been up to UCLA, USC, Stanford and Cal, so I'll probably head back east to see some schools."

About USC specifically, Barkley said, "USC is a fabulous school. They have a great tradition, which I love. Pete Carroll is so energetic about what he does, he loves it. He always talks about competition. And they always have great plays, which is always good. They're a great school."

Trojan fans will undoubtedly follow Barkley's exploits on the field this season. The hard part will be remembering that he is still only a junior.


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