With his draft stock plummeting, did USC Trojan Matt Barkley bang the pooch by returning to one of Tinseltown’s rougher ghettos?

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It’s time for Matt Barkley to exhibit faith and perseverance.

With USC Trojan Matt Barkley shelved after suffering a sprained AC joint in his right shoulder last weekend against UCLA, the senior quarterback’s NFL Draft stock continues to rapidly plummet.

The 6-foot-2, 230 pound Barkley, who was once projected to be the first pick in this April’s draft, has tossed 116 touchdowns, in comparison to a measly 48 interceptions, for 12,327 yards since making his debut in “The City of Angels” as a freshman in 2009.

Unfortunately for Trojans supporters and the 22-year-old Barkley, who many predicted would guide USC (7-4) to its 12th national championship and become the school’s seventh Heisman Memorial Trophy winner, this has been an extremely disappointing autumn on the gridiron in Troy.

The strong, accurate, mature and poised Barkley, playing behind a veteran offensive line with countless explosive weapons at his disposal, has thrown a relatively pedestrian 26 scores, in contrast to an alarming 15 picks, for 3,273 yards this season.

Considering that surefire superstars Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III highlighted last spring’s draft class, it’s impossible to proclaim that the devout Christian, who starred at nearby Mater Dei High School of Santa Ana, banged the pooch by returning to one of Tinseltown’s rougher ghettos.

Nevertheless, Matt Barkley’s unexpected descent is something out of Greek mythology and it will be interesting to see if the sullied golden boy possesses the testicular fortitude to rebound.

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