Prospect Watch List 2011: Profiles

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Matt Barkley (QB, USC):  Maybe it is just me but over the past 10 seasons I have thought of USC as a QB factory. With names like Carson Palmer, Matt Leinart, Matt Cassel (backed up Palmer and Leinart) and Mark Sanchez but the list stops there. As a matter of fact, the list isn’t that impressive.  Combined they have thrown 263 TDs and 183 INTs and appeared in no Super Bowls. Enter Matt Barkley, Barkley was recruited as the top rated high school player in the nation according to ESPN and committed to USC. He enrolled early at USC and won the QB job as a freshman in 2009. That season Barkley had a 59.9 completion percentage with 15 TDs and 14 INTs. Barkley’s 2010 season was much more impressive, improving all those numbers to 62.6, 26-16, respectfully. Standing at 6-2, 220 pounds, Barkley’s size would be considered NFL adequate. He also possesses a strong arm that is capable of making all the throws at the next level. We will watch Matt Barkley lead the Trojans into the 2011 season against Minnesota on September 3rd.

Trent Richardson (RB, Alabama): It has been said in many publishings that the 2009 Heisman Trophy winner’s understudy could be the better RB in Alabama over the past 2 seasons. That RB, Trent Richardson, is surely chomping at the bit to get the opportunity to prove those publications right. At 5-11, 220 pounds, Richardson has the ideal size and a 2009 blog, called the Bama Beat, has him clocked at 4.35 in the 40, giving him exceptional speed to be a NFL running back. He averaged 5.2 yards a carry in 2009 and improved that to 6.3 in 2010. He also found the endzone 18 times those 2 seasons.  Richardson did that all on fewer than 161 touches both years keeping his wear and tear low which will not go unnoticed to NFL personnel. Opening the 2011 season against Kent State on September 3rd, Richardson will hope to get off to a hot start, laying the foundation to build a Heisman Trophy season of his own.

Justin Blackmon (WR, Oklahoma St): 111 receptions, 1782 yards and 20 TDs. Nice numbers to put up on the way to being named Big 12 Player of the Year. Blackmon was the first WR and the first OK State player since Barry Sanders to earn that honor. The only knock on his 2010 year was the fact that Blackmon was suspended a game due to a DUI “complaint” last October. It was written that if Blackmon declared for the 2011 draft he would have been a 1st round pick. Instead the 6-1, 211 pounder decided to return for his junior year. Blackmon obviously has chemistry with returning QB, Brandon Weeden who threw 20 of his 34 TDs to Blackmon. That, along with the chance to refine his route running skills and occasional lapse in concentration, might have helped with Blackmon’s decision to return to school. Look for Blackmon to plant himself into the conversation as a top 5 pick in the 2012 draft starting off against Louisiana-Lafayette on September 3rd.