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Barkley always wants to take it to next level

FOOTBALL: The Newport Beach resident always knew he wanted to play quarterback, now he’s doing it well for Mater Dei.

November 22, 2007|By Soraya Nadia McDonald

“We went through the growth pains of having a freshman quarterback,” Rollinson said. “But he did some special things and we saw the potential there.”

The Monarchs were 9-4 Barkley’s freshman year and finished 4-1 in the Serra League as Barkley threw for 1,685 yards and ten touchdowns. He was 126 for 220 attempts and had nine interceptions.

Now a junior at Mater Dei (Santa Ana), Barkley has already become the third quarterback — after Billy Blanton, a Costa Mesa resident, and Matt Leinart — in the school’s 57-year history to surpass 5,000 passing yards. He’s the first to start as a freshman at Mater Dei since Todd Marinovich did in 1983.

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What’s more, there have been rumblings that Barkley could join the Monarchs’ history books as the third alumnus to win the Heisman trophy. If he did, he would join Leinart and John Huarte, who graduated in 1961 and won as Notre Dame’s quarterback in 1964.

With that kind of buzz surrounding Matt, the Barkleys have grown accustomed to the phone ringing for their eldest son. Usually, it’s staffers from college recruiting websites calling to ask about Barkley’s current height and weight, what music he uses to pump himself up, and — the real kicker — if he’s committed to a school yet.

He hasn’t.

But Barkley was still surprised when Colorado Coach Dan Hawkins offered him a scholarship in the spring. Hawkins was the first coach to offer him one in person.

Since then, the offers have created a new standard of normalcy. Barkley has scholarship offers from countless Division I programs, but he said he’s narrowed his scope down to USC, Oregon, and Cal.

“On Sept. 1, he had a college scholarship offer from every major college or university in the United States,” Rollinson said. “You name it, he’s got it.”

His cousin and best friend, senior Monarchs wide receiver Robbie Boyer, was offered a scholarship to Harvard.

“I always wanted to play quarterback, and he played receiver,” Barkley said. “From early on, there was always a connection, a cousin connection. We were on the same page.”

Barkley grew up in south Irvine, before his parents moved to a gated community not far from Newport Beach Country Club, where Boyer also lives.

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