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Dr. Saturday

Matt Barkley’s collegiate career ends, won’t play in the Sun Bowl

Graham Watson
Dr. Saturday

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Matt Barkley’s collegiate career is officially over.

USC coach Lane Kiffin announced Thursday evening that Barkley would not be able to play in the Sun Bowl on Sunday, ending weeks of speculation regarding Barkley’s status.

“Matt really wanted to play in the game and he was very close to being able to play and unfortunately for him our doctors have decided against it,” Kiffin said. “It’s nothing long term.... We ran out of time.”

Barkley suffered a sprained shoulder on Nov. 17 against UCLA and has been sidelined ever since. Barkley did participate in some conditioning drills while in El Paso preparing for the bowl game, but never took any snaps.

Redshirt freshman Max Wittek will get the start against Georgia Tech.

"I've worked as hard as I could to get back for this game and nature's not allowing it and doctor's aren't allowing it, which is the most important thing--they're looking out for my best interest," Barkley said. "I trust their judgment."

Barkley had an exceptional junior season and decided to come back for his senior campaigninstead of declaring for the NFL draft with hopes of playing for a national title. Things didn’t go as planned. The Trojans stumbled to a 7-5 record and Barkley likely cost himself draft position and money. Barkley finished his senior season with 3,273 yards, 36 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. The interception total is the highest of his career.

But the Trojans should be in good hands with Wittek, who played well in his first start against Notre Dame and should be even better after taking the first-team snaps for several weeks in preparation for Georgia Tech.

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