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Matt Barkley will stay for his senior year

I really thought he was gone.

But the kid has a fire burning in him to finish what he started at USC.

Matt Barkley sticking around for his senior year at USC is a big deal. The reasons don't matter as they are Barkley's alone. Only he can know what is best for him.

His family is his anchor and I am sure that they all had a hand in the discussions...nothing wrong with that.

The fan reaction was predictable...

For the most part the media has set a pretty good tone.

Why I think Barkley is staying at USC — because he feels he owes it to USC. That’s right — it’s not because HE thinks he deserves the Heisman or the national championship. Barkley is doing this because he wants to contribute to the return of USC football to the top.

Barkley is not a me-first guy. That’s what I learned about him when he was at Mater Dei.

Barkley's "you can't sanction heart" quote after the sanctions were handed down really set the tone for what this kid is all about.

Barkley took the time he needed and reached out to those who he knew could give him the best advice in this situation. Whatever decision he made was OK with Me. He owed us nothing, he has carried the weight of the world on his shoulders since he got here, how could you be upset if he chose the NFL

The video below really shows the character this young man has.

This is a very mature young man.

We are lucky to get another year with him.

Now, on the flip side, I am not quite ready to crown USC Champs yet. They have a lot of work ahead. Who is covering Barkley's blind side? As improved as the defense was this past season they still have some issues in the pass defense department.

The media will eat this up as we get closer to the start of the 2012 season. They will start to sing the tune of USC being back.

The future is bright...

USC figures to start the season ranked in the Associated Press top 5. Win out, then and the Trojans are in. But it's not that easy. Not when players are already tweeting Thursday that a national championship is on the docket. Not when expectations are going to be sky-high from Day 1 of spring practice.

"I think it'll be very important for our team this year to have the same mentality going into this year, being the underdogs," Matt Barkley said Thursday, in a private moment just after the news conference finished. "It'll be hard, but we're still gonna have that mentality.

"We can't let anybody get big-headed, myself included."

That Barkley recognizes the risks means he has his head on a swivel. Barkley is just the guy to temper that hype that will the team will be bombarded with going forward.

The media loves the dramatic.

And I think Barkley can handle it.

Barkley showed his even keel in how the USC athletic department set up his presser today...

For Matt Barkley‘s announcement Thursday, someone decided to set up USC’s six Heisman trophies behind the podium.

It was not, however, Barkley’s decision.

“I didn’t want that,” he said. “Whether it was a give away (of his decision to stay in school) or, even more so, the fact that it’s setting up for next year, I don’t want that image for myself. That’s not me.”

Keepin' it real.

We are in good hands.

Congrats Matt!