Southern Cal coach Lane Kiffin makes pitch for Matt Barkley

Cesar Tordesillas – 4E Sports Contributor

Los Angeles, CA, United States (4E Sports) – USC Trojans coach Lane Kiffin says Matt Barkley is going to be a great starting quarterback in the NFL, and notes that videos support his claim.

“The plays he makes, all the throws he’s made here, the leadership qualities … I’ve said this before: If Matt Barkley had the defense that Matt Leinart and Carson Palmer had, Matt Barkley would have won the Heisman Trophy just like they did,” says Kiffin, according to ESPN.

News leaked that the Arizona Cardinals will consider Barkley at No. 7 of the NFL draft.

This runs against the projections of draft experts like Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay who felt Barkley will not be taken in the first round.

Barkley was widely viewed as a top-10 prospect for the last draft but elected to return for his senior season.

His stock was hurt by USC’s disappointing 7-6 season after a preseason No. 1 ranking, by his 15 interceptions (up from seven in 2011) and by the shoulder injury that ended his season two games early. He eventually fell out of the first round on most mock draft boards.

USC coach Lane Kiffin also felt there is a “huge under-appreciation” by Trojans fans for how quarterback Matt Barkley played in his four seasons at the school.

Barkley took some heat from USC fans as the Trojans’ offense regressed from a 10-2 season in 2011. But Kiffin noted that it was largely defensive breakdowns that caused USC’s downfall.

Kiffin also stressed roster limits caused by NCAA sanctions that limited USC’s array of targets and the depth on its offensive line during Barkley’s tenure.

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