Barkley might take reins

Newport Beach resident will take snaps with USC’s first team as starter Corp is out two weeks with injury.

August 12, 2009|By Steve Virgen

Back in April, Matt Barkley was told he was the No. 2 quarterback for USC. The Newport Beach resident soon realized that no quarterback during Pete Carroll’s tenure — not Carson Palmer, Matt Leinart, John David Booty or Mark Sanchez — was demoted as the starter after winning the job in the spring.

But tradition seems to be changing, albeit because of an injury.

USC just might start a true freshman when it opens the season against visiting San Jose State Sept. 5. Aaron Corp, the Trojans’ redshirt sophomore who entered the summer as the starter, could miss two weeks because of a cracked bone in his left leg.

Barkley, a former standout for the Newport-Mesa Jr. All-American program, will take first-team snaps in Corp’s absence.

“Matt’s going to try and make the most of this opportunity,” USC Coach Pete Carroll said in a statement.

During Monday’s practice, a defensive lineman rolled into Corp’s leg. The former Orange Lutheran standout had to sit out Tuesday’s practices, while Barkley took the majority of first-team snaps, and junior Mitch Mustain served as the backup, according to the Los Angeles Times.


An MRI on Corp’s leg Wednesday morning revealed that there was a crack on the head of the left fibula and it will keep him off the field for one to weeks.

“It’s the best-case scenario for this situation,” Corp said in a statement. “I’ll keep rehabbing and hopefully be back soon.”

Starting as a freshman is not anything new for Barkley. He was a four-year starter for Mater Dei.

As a junior he enjoyed his best year with the Monarchs, passing for an Orange County-record 3,576 yards. He threw 35 touchdown passes and was intercepted just nine times, as he completed 213 of his 340 attempts. He was also named Gatorade Male High School Athlete of the Year.

Then as a senior he was rated as the top senior quarterback by several media outlets.

And, just to make sure he would give himself the best chance to start immediately for the Trojans, Barkley graduated a semester early from Mater Dei to enroll at USC.

After a productive spring, during which he impressed coaches with his accuracy, poise and confidence, Barkley was bent on giving Corp a battle to become the starter.

“If come San Jose State I’m not the starter, I believe that, if not by that time, I eventually can take it over this year,” Barkley told the Los Angeles Times Monday.

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