Matt Barkley files NFL paperwork
It's standard procedure for a draft-eligible junior. More than 150 players from across the country typically request evaluations each year. It also has been Barkley's plan for some time; he told ESPNLosAngeles.com earlier this month he would submit the paperwork soon after the season ended.
"Don't think too quickly. I think it's something that every top recruit, or potential draftee does before thinking about going out. It's just a kind of evaluation, I don't think it's even that detailed. Just listing a potential round that you'd go in," Barkley said on "SportsCenter" Wednesday night.
Along with Barkley, there are three other USC juniors contemplating entering the draft early: left tackle Matt Kalil, defensive end Nick Perry and safety T.J. McDonald. All three players have requested or plan to request the evaluation by the Dec. 17 deadline.
All draft-eligible players have until Jan. 15 to declare for the draft and until Jan. 18 to withdraw. The news of the official filing was first reported by the Los Angeles Times.
The evaluations eventually come back to the players -- well before the declaration deadline --- with a full-length report on their projected draft status. And they all receive round grades, or where those polled in the NFL foresee the given player going in the draft.
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"I think finishing out on a good note here at USC was something I wanted to do, and now that we've done that, there's a chance for my future to be financially secure, to move on. There's a couple reasons but it almost seems like the reasons to stay might outweigh those [to leave] with all the guys coming back. Both sides, I look at it and it almost seems to good to be true," Barkley said.
Earlier this month, Barkley said his father, Les, would handle much of the behind-the-scenes work on his decision of whether to declare for the draft, including meeting with potential agents and looking into ways to protect the long-term investment if he does return.
"As of now, I'm still 50-50. I haven't decided. I haven't even begun that process of looking at either side. I'm still enjoying this season, enjoying last week's win against UCLA. Starting next week, I'll really dive into that. I still have some school left and some finals. So once those get out of the way and I can focus on the decision, that's where my attention will be," Barkley said.
The NCAA offers insurance for injuries that happen to players who return for their senior seasons. Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck reportedly secured a $5 million before the start of the 2011 season. Another option is to take out a Lloyd's of London insurance policy, which Barkley said was a possibility.
"I think it's a little odd, kind of funny," Barkley said. "But, hey, if you've got a valuable asset you've gotta protect it."
Pedro Moura covers USC for ESPNLosAngeles.com.