- Garry Paskwietz, Publisher, WeAreSC.com
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Give your projections on the decisions of the four juniors who are contemplating entering the NFL draft early: Matt Barkley, Matt Kalil, Nick Perry and T.J. McDonald.
Garry Paskwietz: I go back and forth with this one. I could make a strong case for him leaving, and I could make a strong case for him staying. The hope for USC fans is that the reasons for staying are definitely the kind of reasons that would matter to a guy like Barkley. In the end, I think he stays.
Steve Bisheff: Right now, I believe him when he says it is 50-50. The key might be the teams drafting after the Colts, who almost have to pick Andrew Luck with the first selection.
Some NFL experts say Barkley has top-five talent, but that might not matter if the teams choosing immediately after Indy don't need a quarterback. Check some of them out: The Vikings? They have a young, highly paid prospect in Christian Ponder. Carolina obviously has Cam Newton. The Rams have Sam Bradford. The Eagles have Michael Vick. And so it goes.
If it appears Barkley will last until the ninth or 10th pick, is it really worth it to go out now? Maybe not. This is a kid who is very interested in his legacy, and there is no question that sticking around for a shot at a BCS title and the Heisman Trophy would improve that. My gut feeling right now is that he stays.
Greg Katz: Like Barkley, I probably change my opinion on a day-to-day basis, so today I'd say it's 60-40 that he goes to the NFL. The 60 percent in me says there appears to be very little room to move up in the draft and a lot more room to move down if he returns and has a substandard season.
Kyle Williams: This is a tough one. As of now he is fighting with QB Landry Jones for the No. 2 quarterback spot. I think it will come down to him getting the right information from the right people on whether he can claim that spot, Jones' performance in his bowl game, and whether or not he feels he can have a better season (numbers-wise) than he had this year. However, if I were a betting man I'd say we've seen the last of Barkley in a Trojans uniform.
Garry Paskwietz: I truly think Kalil wants to stay. He understands what could be achieved next year, and he would love to be part of it. In the end though, I think he goes. He's got a great chance to be a top-five pick and those players -- particularly left tackles -- are paid an amount that will probably be too big to pass up.
Steve Bisheff: I think he goes. He's almost assured to be a top-five choice, which makes it almost a slam dunk. Some believe he and Barkley will decide together, one way or the other. But that doesn't necessarily have to be the case.
Greg Katz: I'd call this one 80-20 that he's going. He can't go much higher if the ratings as the No. 1 offensive tackle are true. This Matt has a father and brother who have professional football experience, and they'll give him a real objective evaluation concerning his future.
Kyle Williams: As of now Kalil is projected to be taken with the second or third pick. He's the No. 1 offensive lineman entering the draft. With those kinds of numbers, it's hard to set your goals much higher. So unless Kalil has a huge ego (which he doesn't) and wants to be the No. 1 pick overall next year, then he should not come back. Other than his degree, I feel Kalil has accomplished what he wanted to as a player at USC and he has put himself in a situation where he can secure himself and his future family financially for the rest of their lives. Like Barkley, I think we've seen the last of Kalil wearing the cardinal and gold.
Garry Paskwietz: I think Perry goes. As much as he would benefit from another year under Orgeron, I just think family circumstances will dictate him leaving early.
Steve Bisheff: If he's a first-rounder, he's likely to go, but I'm not sure he is. Not yet. If he comes back for another year and continues to improve, I think he will be in 2012. My bet is he stays.
Greg Katz: He's gone to the NFL. Hard to argue his leaving when he needs to help his family back in Michigan.
Kyle Williams: Due to the sanctions and lack of media coverage, Perry as of now is probably scheduled to go in the third round. I feel once Perry shows what he can do at the combine and pro day, he will jump from the third round to one of the top picks in the second round. Perry led the Pac-12 in sacks this year and if he were to come back I feel he could have an even better year. However, I think the ability to help his family financially is more important than taking the risk of coming back for another year and possibly getting injured, dropping him to the fifth or sixth round.
Garry Paskwietz: I think he stays. There's no bigger role model for McDonald than his father, Tim, and every step of the way he has talked about wanting to follow in his father's footsteps. His dad was a three-year starter and an All-American at USC. If T.J. stays next year he would be a three-year starter with an opportunity to be an All-American.
Steve Bisheff: He's not a first-rounder, either, but for some reason I don't think it will matter. I think he goes.
Greg Katz: I'd say it's 60-40 that he returns for another season for the Trojans. He can play better and smarter and move himself up in a future draft.
Kyle Williams: We all remember what happened with Taylor Mays when he decided to come back for his senior year, but this is slightly a different situation. With McDonald projected to be at best a second-round pick, I feel he as the ability to increase his stock, making him a top-15 pick if he came back for his senior year. However, being rated in the top four at his position and with his dream of playing in the NFL so close, I feel we've seen the last of McDonald.