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Heisman Trophy 2011: Matt Barkley Congratulates Finalists, Talks NFL Draft

USC Trojans quarterback Matt Barkley didn't make the top five for the Heisman Trophy, and as a result didn't get invited to New York City this weekend, but the junior took it all in stride. As much as Barkley matured on the field this season - setting new school records with 39 touchdowns and a 69.1% completion rate, making himself a rising star in the 2012 NFL Draft - it looks like he matured off the field as well.

"Congratulations to all the Heisman finalists," Barkley told USCTrojans.com on Monday.  "They are all great players, and I wish them the best this Saturday and with the rest of their football careers.  I thought we gave it a good run this year to get an invitation to New York for the ceremony, but more importantly I am really excited that our team's accomplishments are being recognized and we have now moved up to fifth in the rankings."

Saying all the right things, focusing on the team, Barkley is handling everything like a pro. However, he has a decision to make soon whether or not he will handle things as a pro in 2012 literally or just figuratively. Barkley is still undecided on whether or not to enter the NFL draft, and Monday began the process of getting all the information before making a decision.

Barkley and his family on Monday met with head coach Lane Kiffin and athletic director Pat Haden to discuss his future. "We met this afternoon with Coach Kiffin and Pat Haden.  By no means did I come to any conclusions today.  It was just the start of us gathering the facts.  There is a long way to go in this process and no timetable.  When I make my decision, I will let everyone know," Barkley said.

The five finalists for the 2011 Heisman Trophy are Andrew Luck of the Stanford Cardinal, Robert Griffin III of the Baylor Bears, Trent Richardson of Alabama, Montee Ball of the Wisconsin Badgers, and the Tyrann Mathieu, the "Honey Badger," of the LSU Tigers.

USC fans can only hope Barkley decides to return to Los Angeles for one more season to see if he can make the trip to New York at this time next year.

To discuss Barkley and USC football, go to Conquest Chronicles.