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PHOTO BY ARMANDO BROWN; TEXT BY DAN WOIKE, OCVARSITY.COM
Matt Barkley went from quarterbacking Mater Dei to leading the USC offense in a blink of an eye. The process getting Barkley to USC, though, wasn't quite as fast. Click on the photo for a look at Barkley -- then and now.

When they were recruits: Matt Barkley

First in a series of interviews with O.C. athletes who have been through the recruiting process.

OCVARSITY.COM

LOS ANGELES – When you're speaking with someone who has gone through being recruited, one word comes up more often than most others: process.

From the first contact, usually an informal letter, to formalized scholarship offers, the recruited athlete has to walk through a minefield of information, and in some cases, temptation.


Click on the photo for a slide show on Barkley.


With all of that in mind, here's the first in a series of interviews with Orange County athletes who have been through the process.

Matt Barkley, USC QB

On the start of the process

"The offseason of my freshman year, I got my first letter. It was from Willamette University (in Salem, Ore.). I was stoked. I didn't know what it meant, but I knew it was a letter. I was happy. ...The first offer came from Colorado (after my sophomore year)."

On when coaches would come watch him practice

"I remember the offseason of my sophomore year. (Lane) Kiffin and (Steve) Sarkisian came down to watch a practice. Our offensive coordinator just scripted a throwing session like no other for me. It was awesome. ... I was just being myself. I knew if I changed something, it'd probably go wrong."

On trying to find the right school

"I looked around at various schools (Cal, Stanford, UCLA), but for the most part, I knew I was coming here. There wasn't too much of a decision to be made. This is where my heart was. I wanted a pro-style offense, and I looked around on the West Coast mostly."

On ending the process by committing to USC early (in Jan. of 2008)

"It wasn't bad at all. My senior year, I was already committed. My junior year, I was pretty much already committed. For me, people knew I wasn't going anywhere else. I tried to make it known in articles and in interviews. I just got it over with. I knew I wanted to come here, and I said I was. It was once a week where I'd talk to Sark my senior season. It wasn't bad at all. I didn't really get hounded."

On UCLA's recruitment

"There wasn't much thought in going there."

Any regrets with how you handled the recruiting process?

"I remember all these article and people asking my questions like, 'Is it hard?' or 'Do you feel pressure to commit?' I didn't see that. I thought it was an awesome time and an awesome experience to be able meet some of the best coaches in the country and get to know them and to meet other recruits in the process from going to camps and various functions. We were able to hang out and get to know one another."

On knowing who was recruiting him

"I did spend time trying to memorize the coaches' names so when I'd see them, I could remember. I'd put them as a contact in my phone with a picture from the internet just so I could remember them all."

Contact the writer: dwoike@ocregister.com


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