Andrew Luck is almost a foregone conclusion right now to land anywhere but in Miami. Yes yesterday was only one win. A big victory in an already over season. The best the Dolphins can finish is 9-7 and the hopes of a playoff appearance are remote at best. Fans are all over message boards today wondering aloud if the loss was what was best for Miami. Indianapolis is in the lead for Luck as they stay winless and the St. Louis Rams who couldn’t lose to New Orleans last week, couldn’t beat an Arizona team that was missing it’s starting QB.
The fever that has risen across Dolfan Nation has been a ticking time bomb. Fans want to root for Miami to win but cringe at the thought of missing out on a can’t miss prospect. Now with victory in hand and at least three or four more winnable games on their schedule, fans are turning their attention to USC QB Matt Barkley. Call it a “Bark for Barkley” train if you must.
Matt Barkley according to Oliver Luck, Andrew Luck’s father, is as good as Luck is. Well maybe not but he is one of the top college QB’s in the country and he is making a name for himself. Barkley entered this season projected as a possible late first rounder and now finds he has shot himself to the top of the board. Some project him as a top five draft pick and while some have him just behind Oklahoma QB Landry Jones, most have him rated higher. It will all mean nothing of course if Barkley decides to stay in college for his senior year. And a lot of speculation seems to point in that direction.
Matt Barkley began his USC tenure as a true freshman. He succeeded Mark Sanchez who we all see play for the Jets…the irony of Barkley landing in Miami. Barkley started his first regular season game under Pete Carroll before he vaulted to Seattle. Barkley only succeeded. Yet for his personal accomplishments on the field, he and the rest of the USC Trojans are not eligible for bowl games. Thanks to Miami Dolphins running back Reggie Bush. More irony. The NCAA sanctions run out after this season.
Should Barkley return to the Trojans next year he can lead the team into a bowl game and possible a National Championship. He could find himself eligible for the Heisman trophy as well. All if he returns. With the NFL’s new rookie cap, the motivation to come out early is also no longer there for the college athletes. What once was a prize of millions has been reduced and spread out. Now only the fear of injury seems to be the worry for a return.
Barkley is a very smart kid and he uses his time to work with children and through his Christian faith to help families in need. Last year he spent some of his off time running a mission in South Africa. He regularly speaks to children about the importance of staying school. In other words, he comes with a defined maturity that most college kids lack. He has seen the real world, worked in it, studied it, and isn’t worried how it will affect him. Instead he tends to wonder what he can do to help it. He is a gem that is simply overshadowed by a guy named Luck.
Most draft pundits would put Barkley at the top, the very top, as in the number one overall spot if he were to wait one more season and finish his time at USC. What drives his thoughts on the matter is anyone’s guess and local journalists covering the team appear to be split on what his decision may be. Some believe he is riding out the final three weeks and then will say good-bye to the collegiate stage and draw off his attention to land in the top 5 next April. Others believe that the draw of finishing with a Heisman Trophy, a National Championship, and becoming the number 1 overall pick a year later makes perfect sense and finishes off his remarkable career at USC.
Barkley of course isn’t saying. He simply says the lines. ”It may be my last season, it may not”. In other words, he isn’t saying one way or the other and let’s the journalists speculate on their own. So how will this all end? Only Barkley knows for sure but it’s very likely that he will get NFL input into where they foresee his draft position being and then weigh all the pro’s and con’s of staying or going. He may even take a look at what team may be his realistic NFL destination and then decide. It’s his choice.
One way or the other, the Dolphins fans will find it a nail biting wait and see as the team moves further from Luck and fans become enamored with the next best thing. Until then, all fans can do is speculate and hope.