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USC quarterback Matt Barkley has become a Tim Tebow fan

December 1, 2011 |  7:35 am

Fabforum

Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow might be a polarizing figure, but he has lately added another member to his fan base: USC’s Matt Barkley.

Despite criticism over his lack of a prototypical NFL skill-set, Tebow has led the Broncos to a 5-1 record since becoming the starter, including a 16-13 overtime victory over the San Diego Chargers last week.

"I find it so intriguing," said Barkley, who passed for 39 touchdowns this season. "I haven’t really respected his quarterback play for the longest time just because I like typical drop-back quarterbacks, that’s just who I am.

"I mean, I loved Matt Ryan when he was in college. But I love Tim for who he is and for how he’s a gamer. He wins games. No matter how he does it, I mean, he’s doing it and that’s what you want to do when you’re playing football."

Tebow won the Heisman Trophy in 2007. As Barkley told me in this report, he is hoping to be among the Heisman finalists when the winner is announced Dec. 10 in New York.

Like Tebow, Barkley has a strong Christian faith.

"I think he does it in a good manner, to where he stands up for what he believes in," Barkley said of Tebow. "I think now that he’s finally putting his work on the field he’s getting a little more respect for it."

Barkley is weighing whether to return to USC for a final collegiate season or to make himself available for the NFL draft.

If he returns to the Trojans, Barkley said he would not use the platform for evangelical purposes.

"That’s not my personality," he said. "I’m not so outspoken like that. I’ve always kind of been somebody who keeps to myself. I would keep the same platform I have, speaking to people, to kids, but not much more than after a game saying, 'Praise God.' I don’t think I’d take it that far."

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USC's Matt Barkley starts testing NFL waters

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Sam Farmer: Many obstacles remain before NFL returns to Los Angeles

-- Gary Klein

Photo: Matt Barkley. Credit: Gary A. Vasquez / U.S. Presswire

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