In a move that shocked just about everyone, USC’s Matt Barkley announced today that he’s returning for his senior season. Barkley is ranked at the #2 prospect in the entire draft, right behind Andrew Luck. Barkley will enter 2012 as the concensus #1 overall pick, and the Heisman frontrunner.
In my opinion, this is a completely stupid move, in every sense. Barkley is far from a perfect QB prospect. Another year, and without Kalil and some of the other players who are leaving for the draft, Barkley has a chance to be exposed during this next season.
Most overhyped players like Barkley never live up to the hype after returning for another year. Barkley only has to look to another former USC QB who made that choice, Matt Leinart, for evidence. Leinart was a Heisman winner and the concensus #1 overall pick until he decided to spend one more year in college. Leinart played well his senior year, but he dropped into the middle of the first round, costing him millions.
Another example would be Jack Locker from Washington. Locker was considered a lock to be the #1 overall pick, but decided to come back for another year in college. He senior year was pretty much a disaster, and while he still got picked 8th by the Titans, that pick was considered to be one of the worst in the draft. Since his decision also pushed him into the new CBA, the move cost him around $40 million.
This move will cost Barkley millions even if he lives up to all the hype. Barkley would have earned a ton of cash in 2012 had he entered the draft. Now he’ll earn exactly $0.