USC's Barkley named NFF National Scholar Athlete
By the Pac-12 Conference
WALNUT CREEK, Calif.— USC quarterback Matt Barkley was named a National Football Foundation (NFF) National Scholar-Athlete, the NFF and the College Football Hall of Fame announced.
He is one of 15 members of the 2012 class of NFF National Scholar-Athletes that was selected from a nationwide pool of 147 semifinalists from among all NCAA divisions and the NAIA.
Candidates for the NFF Scholar Athlete award must be senior students in their final year of eligibility, have a grade point average of at least 3.2 on a 4.0 scale, have outstanding football ability as a first team player and have demonstrated strong leadership and citizenship.
Barkley, who is USC's 13th Scholar Athlete Award recipient, is joined by running back Rex Burkhead of Nebraska, safety Cody Davis of Texas Tech, safety Nick Driskill of Mount Union (Ohio), quarterback Nick Florence of Baylor, defensive tackle Nabal Jefferson of Northern Illinois, center Barrett Jones of Alabama, offensive lineman Aaron Mullane of West Texas A&M, quarterback Ryan Nassib of Syracuse, defensive end Nolan Nearhoof of Robert Morris, offensive lineman Ethan Peterson of MIT, quarterback Sean Renfree of Duke, linebacker Manti Te'o of Notre Dame, offensive tackle Patrick Ward of Northwestern and wide receiver Shane Zackery of Saint Xavier (Ill.).
"This year's class contains some of the finest student-athletes to ever compete in college athletics in any sport," said NFF President & CEO Steven J. Hatchell. "They have an average GPA of 3.67, which showcases their commitment to excellence in the classroom as well as on the field. Without exception, they embody what it takes to be great leaders. We are proud to hold them out as examples for future generations to emulate."
Each member of the 2012 class will travel to New York City to be honored on Dec. 4 during the 55th NFF Annual Awards Dinner at the Waldorf-Astoria. They each receive an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship, and one member of the class will also be announced as the 23rd recipient of the William V. Campbell Trophy, which recognizes an individual as the best football scholar-athlete in the nation. That award comes with a 25-pound bronze trophy and a $7,000 increase in postgraduate funds for a total scholarship of $25,000.
The NFF's National Scholar-Athlete program, launched in 1959, is the first in history to award scholar-athletes postgraduate scholarships for their combined athletic, academic and leadership abilities.
"The 2012 National Scholar-Athlete Class represents all that is right about college football," said NFF Chairman Archie Manning, whose sons Peyton (Campbell winner) and Eli were NFF National Scholar-Athletes in 1997 and 2003, respectively. "They have displayed the same competitive fire to win in the classroom that has distinguished them as some of the best football players in the country. In addition, each has found time to give back with an impressive list of leadership roles in their respective communities. Ensuring that they continue their education with an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship is a privilege, and we know that they have only begun to reach their potential."
Barkley is the first and only three-year Captain in USC's storied football history. A third team All-America selection in 2011, he finished sixth in the Heisman Trophy balloting as a junior and set the school record for single-season touchdown passes (39). He also set school single-game marks for completions (35), passing yardage (468), touchdown passes (6) and total offense (470). Barkley was named the Offensive Player of the Year by CollegeFootballNews.com and was a Manning Award finalist in 2011. He ranks fifth in the Pac-12 record books in career passing yardage (10,827) and total offense (10,726 yards). In 2012, he has completed 140 passes for 1,773 yards and 22 touchdowns for the ninth-ranked Trojans, who are 6-1 and sit atop the Pac-12 South division standings.
Barkley earned Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week accolades this week after leading USC to a 50-6 victory over Colorado. He threw for a USC single-game record-tying six touchdown passes, including a school record-tying five in the first half, to become the Pac-12's career record holder. He passed former Trojan Matt Leinart's Pac-12 record of 99 career touchdown passes and now has 102 for his career. Barkley completed 95.0% of his passes (19-of-20) to set both the Pac-12 game mark for highest completion percentage (minimum 15 completions) and the Pac-12 game passing efficiency rating record (319.2). He threw for 298 yards overall with no interceptions and was 16-of-17 for 269 yards in the first half to earn College Football Performance Awards National Performer of the Week and National Quarterback of the Week.
Barkley, a two-time Academic all-conference honoree who carries a 3.21 GPA in Communication, has worked extensively with Los Angeles area youth, serving as a mentor, coach and a role model. Much of his work in the community has been done through various student-run organizations at USC. Barkley's efforts extend beyond U.S. borders, as he has taken service trips to Haiti, Nigeria, South Africa and Mexico, where he has delivered supplies to underprivileged families and assisted with development projects.