USC's Barkley: 'I have firmly decided to forgo the NFL draft'

USC quarterback Matt Barkley announced Thursday during an on-campus news conference that he will be back with the Trojans for his senior season.

Barkley said that shortly after the end of the season, he began to seek out information from USC coach Lane Kiffin, athletic director Pat Haden, as well as various agents, NFL management personnel and school alumni on whether or not he was prepared for the life of a professional quarterback.

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Barkley said that though he ended the process with a firm belief that he was "fully prepared and ready to enter the NFL at this time," he wanted to be a part of a 2012 USC football team that "has some unfinished business."

"I have firmly decided to forgo the NFL draft in 2012 and finish the unique journey I have started at USC," Barkley said.

Shortly after Barkley announced his decision, Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, who recruited the quarterback to USC, praised the decision on Twitter, writing: "couldn't be happier for @MattBarkley & the Trojan family! This is an extraordinary statement of his commitment to SC."

Carroll then added: "Matt will always be remembered as a great Trojan!"

Barkley led the Trojans to a 10-2 record this season while setting a Pac-12 Conference record for touchdown passes in a single season (39) and a school record for completion percentage (69.1). Barkley also threw for 3,528 yards and had just seven interceptions in 446 pass attempts.

NFL.com analyst Bucky Brooks has Barkley ranked as the third-best quarterback prospect in college football behind Stanford's Andrew Luck (who already has announced his intentions to apply for entry into the 2012 draft) and Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III of Baylor.

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