The USC quarterback completed 69.1% of his passes, threw 39 TDs and just seven INTs, and was projected to be a top NFL pick before deciding to return for his senior season.
DAN PATRICK:What kind of car do you drive?
MATT BARKLEY: The classy Ford Escape 2009 Limited Edition, with standard stainless-steel rims and dusty old windshield.
DP:It's not tricked-out?
MB: Not in any way. It's unassuming.
DP:Is that you?
MB: Yeah, who knows what will happen next year? This is the car I've driven through high school and college.
DP:Which NFL team do you think would have drafted you?
MB: I have no clue. It would have been interesting to see how that would have panned out with the three quarterbacks at the top. But once I decided to come back, I didn't really pay attention.
DP:But you must have gotten some information.
MB: Maybe Minnesota, maybe Miami, the Redskins. I've heard those names tossed around.
DP:Where do you think you would have gone in that quarterback group?
MB: I had confidence that I was going to go high. It wasn't a question of that as to why I came back to USC. It was a sure bet Andrew [Luck] was going to go Number 1.
DP:Do you think you would have been second?
MB: I had confidence in that. I think I could have been.
DP:If USC was still on probation, would you have come back?
MB: If we had not been on probation these last two years, I definitely would have gone [pro], given that we would have had the experience [of playing in a bowl game] already. If we were still on probation, that would have lessened my attraction to USC because of not being able to play in the postseason.
DP:Last time you had a regret about your decision to stay in college?
MB: I have not had one yet. And I pray I don't get one. I've loved every second. Even class.
DP:If I gave you a choice of the Heisman or the national championship, which would you take?
MB: A championship would do a lot more than one little trophy. We've been through a lot as a university the last couple of years. Winning that big game would mean a lot. It would bring us back to where we were during the Carson Palmer and Matt Leinart days.
DP:Do people come up to you on the street?
MB: People don't really recognize me in L.A. because there's too much going on. Celebrities are everywhere. I can put on a hat, and I'm good to go. No one knows who I am.
DP:Name a celebrity you met who would surprise me.
MB: I met Metta World Peace at a restaurant. I was surprised. He's not what he seems like on the court. He's a real nice guy.
DP:Can you imagine LeBron James on the football field?
MB: I still think [LeBron] would have been one of the most dominant football players ever as a tight end or a receiver. You'd just have to put it within 10 yards, and he'd go up and get it.
DP:Even someone like me could throw it to him.
MB: I don't know about that. That's stretching it a bit.
"We've got the chance to play six bowl [-caliber] games per year in front of 108,000 people. I don't know how many bowls have 108,000 people. Last time I checked, there aren't any."
—BILL O'BRIEN, PENN STATE COACH, DESCRIBING HIS PITCH FOR PLAYERS TO STAY DESPITE NCAA SANCTIONS
Former Florida State coach Bobby Bowden commented on the NCAA's vacating Penn State's wins since 1998, which pushed him to the top of the alltime FBS wins list. "What happened [at Penn State] is so big," Bowden said. "This is nothing. There is no way I can celebrate." ... Pirates star Andrew McCutchen credited his breakout season to signing a six-year, $51.5 million extension in March. "When I signed that contract," McCutchen said, "I was able to breathe and pay attention to things I normally wouldn't pay attention to." ... Giants DE Osi Umenyiora, who has a history of contract dissatisfaction, now sounds content despite having just one year on his deal. "I realize that's not what I play for," Umenyiora said. "Do I have enough money? I've made enough. More wasn't going to make me happy." ... Grant Hill shared an interesting memory from his 1996 Olympic experience: "The leading scorer had to be drug-tested. You'd be there for two hours after the game, and nobody wanted to go through the process. At the end of games everyone was being super unselfish."
MICHAEL J. LEBRECHT II/1DEUCE3 PHOTOGRAPHY (PATRICK)
PETER READ MILLER (BARKLEY)
PETER READ MILLER (HILL)
JOHN IACONO (UMENYIORA)
AL TIELEMANS (MCCUTCHEN)
BEBETO MATTHEWS/AP (BOWDEN)