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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California
Football

Barkley Named Starting QB

True Freshman Matt Barkley Named USC's Starting QB

For most freshmen, the biggest concern during the first two weeks of school is finding their classes and getting settled into their new surroundings. Matt Barkley's biggest concern, however, will be trying to lead the USC Trojan football team to their first national championship game in four years.

Barkley was officially given the job as starting QB by Coach Pete Carroll Thursday morning. He beat out red-shirt sophomore and announced spring starter Aaron Corp.

"The guys were coming up to me throughout the day today and giving me their congratulations," Barkley said.

Barkley is the first true freshman quarterback to ever start an opening football game for the Trojans. He was the starter at Mater Dei High School for all four seasons, before graduating a semester early to enroll at USC in the spring.

"If I hadn't been there in January, it might've been a different picture," Barkley said.

Although Barkley is relatively new to the program, Coach Carroll sees him as a one-of-a-kind freshman.

"He's not acted in any way like any true freshman we've seen here," said Carroll. "He's like a guy who's been here a few years. He acts like a veteran."

Corp seemed to have secured the starter's role early in fall practice, but suffered a broken left fibula in practice August 10. The lost time and inability to fully prepare for the upcoming San Jose State game on Sept. 5 were major factors in Carroll's decision.

"The more time we can give Aaron [to recover] the better," Carroll said.

"I've just got to keep fighting, that's all that I can do," said a disheartened looking Corp. "I still want to play. I still expect to play. When I get my opportunities, I've got to make the most of them."

Since Carroll has been at the helm at USC, once a quarterback is named the starter, they've kept the job until being drafted away by the NFL. Carroll was also quick to emphasize that this is not a "one-game" decision, despite speculation that Barkley would only be the starter for the San Jose State game and not the Ohio State game.

"[Coach] said I'm the starter for the season," said Barkley. "But the competition's always on."

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