California's Top QB Makes His Choice

Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei quarterback, the Junior of the Year, has made his college choice, and the strong-armed Barkley will stay in California for college...

Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei quarterback Matt Barkley, the top quarterback prospect in the country in the class of 2009, has made his college decision, 13 months before he'll sign his letter-of-intent.

"Today I called (USC) Coach Pete Carroll to give him my commitment to becoming a Trojan," said Barkley. "I am very excited about my decision, it is one that my family and I have given serious consideration to and have prayed about a great deal."

The lifelong Trojan fan had been a lean to USC ever since they offered him in the spring, if not well before then, and talked about why he made his decision.

"I chose USC because I simply love the football program and because of the great education I will receive. There is an incredible tradition of competition, excellence, enthusiasm and winning that I am excited to be a part of. I have the greatest respect for Coach Carroll, Coach Sarkisian and the entire coaching staff and what they have accomplished. I look forward to playing football for them."

Barkley said he was relieved to get the process over with.

"It's good not to be burdened by it," said Barkley. "I can be focused on the season and what we're doing during the season. I'm stoked. I'm looking forward to focusing on Mater Dei. We start up next week and I'll put all my efforts in to that."

Barkley went to the USC campus on Saturday to meet with USC coaches, and upon leaving, felt like the time was right to make his decision.

"We're kind of in a lull right now, football wise, at Mater Dei," said Barkley. "So I went up to USC and called Coach Carroll. I saw how much fun they were having. It was a blast and just I feel like it is the best place for me. I considered other schools but I felt like USC was where was best."

His father, Les, is a former USC water polo and since he was a kid, Barkley dreamed of playing for the Trojans.

"I've always loved the schools and loved the color," said Barkley. "It's always been in me. It's real evident."

Barkley called Carroll, who was in Alabama watching a handful of the USC players in the Senior Bowl.

"He's down in Alabama with some of the other coaches," said Barkley. "He was driving with the coaches and when I told him they were hootin' and hollerin' and were pretty excited."

The idea of being close to home also loomed large for Barkley.

"I want to thank my family for all their love and support," said Barkley. "They're very excited to maybe have me come home on the weekends and they're excited that I'll be close to home."

Another in a long line of outstanding Mater Dei players, he follows in the footsteps of Matt Leinart, John Huarte and Colt Brennan, all who left their mark on the college football landscape.

"I also want to thank Coach Rollinson and Coach Money for all they have taught me and thank my teammates at Mater Dei for making me a better quarterback. With this important decision made, I look forward to focusing completely on my senior year of high school football," said Barkley.

During his memorable junior season, Barkley passed for 3,560 yards and 35 touchdowns. He helped the Monarchs to a share of the Trinity League title in 2007. Barkley was named the California Underclassmen of the Year by and the Gatorade National Player of the Year.

The five-star prospect is the sixth commit to USC in the class of 2009.

See clips of Barkley in action during the 2007 season in a win over Anaheim (Calif.) Servite:

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