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Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.)
football coach Bruce Rollinson has sent 11 quarterbacks to Division I programs since 1989.
his prized pupils were Matt Leinart (2004 Heisman Trophy winner), Colt
Brennan (2007 Heisman finalist), Billy Blanton (San Diego State
standout) and Danny O’Neill (1995 Rose Bowl MVP) along with current USC spring starter Max Wittek.
His only four-year starter at the position, however, is Matt Barkley
. And what Rollinson saw then in the 14-year-old freshmen he sees eight years later as a probable first-round NFL draft pick: Someone with intangible qualities who will make a franchise very happy.
there are quarterbacks who are taller or throw harder,” Rollinson said.
“But are any of them the complete package of Matt Barkley?”
Rollinson is a two-time national prep coach of the year and Mater Dei won two mythical national championships.
a freshman to take the reigns of such a high-profile program is really
unheard of. But Barkley delivered, throwing for more than 9,300 career
yards and 79 touchdowns in one of the nation’s hotbeds for prep football
— Orange County and the Trinity League. He was the Gatorade National
Player of the Year in 2007
as a junior and last month Mater Dei retired his number
was fascinating to me how he dealt with all the pressure and
attention,” Rollinson said. “He remained the same throughout – one of
the most polite, humble kids you’ve ever met. It was astounding to me.
In four years, I never received more emails and comments from teachers
speaking of what a quality person he is.”
As a four-year starter
at USC, the 6-foot-2, 227-pound Barkley completed 1,001 of 1,562 passes for
12,327 yards and 116 touchdowns and 48 interceptions.
Barkley’s draft status is all over the board – many have him dropping
into the second round – Rollinson has a sneaking suspicion someone is
going to nab him much higher.
“I honestly have a feeling someone
is going to take him in the Top 10,” Rollinson said. “Someone has
really talked to the young man, studied him and realizes all the things
he can do for a franchise.”