Matt Barkley Named National Football Foundation Scholar-Athlete
Oct. 24, 2012
USC senior quarterback Matt Barkley was named a National Scholar-Athlete by the National Football Foundation.
He becomes USC's 13th player to win the prestigious honor--including such former Trojan greats as Pat Haden, Paul McDonald, Tony Boselli, Duane Bickett, John Jackson, Jeremy Hogue and Chad Morton--but he is the school's first recipient since 1999.
Barkley is part of a 15-member class of 2012 NFF National Scholar-Athletes who were selected from a nationwide pool of 147 semifinalists from among all NCAA divisions and the NAIA.
Each member of the 2012 class will travel to New York City to be honored on Dec. 4 during the 55th NFF Annual Awards Dinner at the Waldorf=Astoria. They each receive an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship, and one member of the class will also be announced as the 23rd recipient of the William V. Campbell Trophy, which recognizes an individual as the best football scholar-athlete in the nation. That award comes with a 25-pound bronze trophy and a $7,000 increase in postgraduate funds for a total scholarship of $25,000.
Joining Barkley in the 2012 class is running back Rex Burkhead of Nebraska, safety Cody Davis of Texas Tech, safety Nick Driskill of Mount Union (Ohio), quarterback Nick Florence of Baylor, defensive tackle Nabal Jefferson of Northern Illinois, center Barrett Jones of Alabama, offensive lineman Aaron Mullane of West Texas A&M, quarterback Ryan Nassib of Syracuse, defensive end Nolan Nearhoof of Robert Morris, offensive lineman Ethan Peterson of MIT, quarterback Sean Renfree of Duke, linebacker Manti Te'o of Notre Dame, offensive tackle Patrick Ward of Northwestern and wide receiver Shane Zackery of Saint Xavier (Ill.).
"This year's class contains some of the finest student-athletes to ever compete in college athletics in any sport," said NFF President & CEO Steven J. Hatchell. "They have an average GPA of 3.67, which showcases their commitment to excellence in the classroom as well as on the field. Without exception, they embody what it takes to be great leaders. We are proud to hold them out as examples for future generations to emulate."
The NFF's National Scholar-Athlete program, launched in 1959, is the first in history to award scholar-athletes postgraduate scholarships for their combined athletic, academic and leadership abilities.
"The 2012 National Scholar-Athlete Class represents all that is right about college football," said NFF Chairman Archie Manning, whose sons Peyton (Campbell winner) and Eli were NFF National Scholar-Athletes in 1997 and 2003, respectively. "They have displayed the same competitive fire to win in the classroom that has distinguished them as some of the best football players in the country. In addition, each has found time to give back with an impressive list of leadership roles in their respective communities. Ensuring that they continue their education with an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship is a privilege, and we know that they have only begun to reach their potential."
Candidates for the NFF National Scholar-Athlete award must be a senior or graduate student in their final year of eligibility, have a grade point average of at least 3.2 on a 4.0 scale, have outstanding football ability as a first team player and have demonstrated strong leadership and citizenship.
Last week against Colorado, Barkley threw a USC single game record-tying 6 touchdown passes, including a school record-tying 5 in the first half, to become the Pac-12's career TD pass record-holder (102). Overall in 2012, the Heisman Trophy candidate has completed 65.7% of his passes (140-of-213) for 1,773 yards with 22 touchdowns and just 6 interceptions. His 22 TD passes through 7 games in 2012 is ahead of his pace from 2011 (19) when he set the Pac-12 season TD pass record (39). He is 13th nationally in passing efficiency (164.10) and within range of Mark Sanchez's USC season passing efficiency mark of 164.6 set in 2008.
He is second behind Heisman winner Carson Palmer on USC's career lists for completions (895 completions), passing yardage (10,827, fifth on the Pac-12 chart) and total offense (10,726 yards, fifth on the Pac-12 ladder). His 64.5% career completion rate is just shy of Heisman winner Matt Leinart's USC record of 64.8%. He has thrown at least 1 TD pass in 38 of his 43 career games, at least 2 TDs in 26 games, at least 3 TDs in 17 games, at least 4 TDs 10 times and at least 5 TDs 7 times (the only Trojan to have done so), including 4 times with a school record 6 TDs. He has thrown for at least 200 yards in 28 career games (a school record-tying 12 times over 300 yards, as well as twice over 400 yards). He has 43 career starts (he is 33-10 as a starter).
The first and only three-year captain in Southern California's storied football history, Barkley has twice earned Academic All-Pac-12 honors, garnering second team laurels in 2011 and honorable mention accolades as a sophomore. He is a communications major, participating in Macintosh OSX Forensics this semester, the first course of its kind at USC.
One of USC's greatest ambassadors in the community, the 2011 AFCA Good Works Team member has taken trips to Haiti, Nigeria, and South Africa, working at orphanages, providing supplies, and building houses for the underprivileged. Barkley is an annual speaker at Troy Camp, USC's oldest and largest philanthropic organization, and he has participated in children's hospital visits, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, tutoring at KidWorks Center, and the Community Bowl.