Matt Barkley says NFL teams should look beyond final season at Southern Cal

Cesar Tordesillas – 4E Sports Contributor

Los Angeles, CA, United States (4E Sports) – Matt Barkley doesn’t believe the way he finished last season should affect his stock in April’s NFL draft.

He believes he’s as good, if not better, than he was in 2011, despite the tale of the stats.

Barkley threw 39 touchdowns and seven interceptions in 2011 and was projected to go high in the first round of the NFL draft. He returned to USC for his senior season and eventually suffered a right shoulder injury in USC’s loss to UCLA on Nov. 17.

USC, the preseason No. 1, finished 7-6, and Barkley, the preseason Heisman Trophy favorite, threw 15 interceptions, the most of his four-year career as the Trojans starter.

“People have been looking at stats over the past year, who’s hot, who’s not,” said Barkley. “We didn’t finish the year strong, I know that. But that doesn’t mean I’m any less of a quarterback this year.”

Barkley also defended Lane Kiffin and believes he should be USC’s coach moving forward. Kiffin took over USC during a difficult time due to NCAA sanctions, Barkley said, adding he believes the coach should be commended for the job he has done with a two-year bowl ban and 30 fewer scholarships spanning three years.

“You can’t risk players getting hurt with tackling drills and you don’t have that depth that other teams do, and I think that really affected us,” said Barkley.

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