It's been a foregone conclusion for the better part of a year that Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck will be the first player taken in next year's NFL Draft. But one football mind with a different take is University of Washington coach Steve Sarkisian.
"If I'm an NFL head coach right now I'd pick Matt Barkley ahead of Andrew Luck," Sarkisian said of USC's junior quarterback this week, according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. "I think where he fits into the NFL in his pocket presence and what (USC coach) Lane (Kiffin) is doing with him, the variety of offense they are playing with, his ability to make all of the throws, throwing them on time and to them accurately. He's fantastic to me, and I know him personally, so I have a little better insight into what he is and what he represents. I think he's fantastic."
Sarkisian recruited Barkley when the coach was an assistant at USC.
Apprised of his comments, Barkley said Sarkisian was "just pouring on the sugar." Washington plays USC this Saturday. The Huskies already lost to Luck and Stanford this year, falling 65-21 on Oct. 22.
Another possible interpretation is that Sarkisian wants Barkley to leave for the NFL Draft this spring so he won't have to face him as a senior next season.
According to the Los Angeles Times, when Trojans coach Lane Kiffin was asked about Sarkisian's comments, he replied: "He's never been an NFL head coach, remember? He turned it down. Made me go."