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Matt Barkley, T.J. McDonald, USC teammates to assist Haitians

USC FOOTBALL

A group of Trojans football players will travel next month to build houses, transport supplies. Haiti continues to rebuild from a devastating 2010 earthquake.

April 03, 2012|By Gary Klein
  • USC quarterback Matt Barkley and 13 of his teammates will travel to Haiti next month to help build houses.
USC quarterback Matt Barkley and 13 of his teammates will travel to Haiti… (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles…)

USC safety T.J. McDonald remembers the scrapbook.

He saw it at quarterback Matt Barkley's home, a collection of photographs from the Barkley family's trip to Nigeria a few years ago, a journey that included humanitarian work.

"I told him I would be interested in going on the next trip when they did something like that," McDonald said Tuesday.

McDonald will get his wish next month.

Barkley, McDonald and 13 other Trojans are scheduled to travel to Haiti, which continues to rebuild from the devastating 2010 earthquake. The players will help build houses and transport supplies in conjunction with Hope Force International.

Barkley's father, Les, traveled to Haiti two years ago to assist in relief efforts. Matt Barkley said the May trip sprang from his family's desire to help others.

"I wanted to do something one more time while I was in college, before life gets pretty crazy and all that stuff," he said. "And just to do one more thing with my teammates."

According to USC, the travel party will include a range of players from different years, including freshman linebacker Scott Starr, a January enrollee, and defensive back Josh Shaw, a transfer from Florida.

"One day I was just sitting in the locker room and Matt came over and asked me if I was interested," Shaw said. "In America we can take what he have for granted. It's a chance to give back."

A USC official said that Les Barkley broached the idea of the trip with school compliance officials and that players would follow all NCAA procedures, including the filing of appropriate paperwork and waivers. Players have sent letters to family and friends seeking donations to help finance the trip.

"It's going to bring our team even closer together," Barkley said. "Serving together brings you together."

Said McDonald, a fellow team captain: "To help these people out, it kind of tells you where our mind-set is not only as football players but as people."

Quick hits

Former USC receivers Damian Williams and Patrick Turner, who now play in the NFL, did individual drills with the Trojans but were not in pads. A USC official said their participation was cleared with the NCAA…. Max Browne, a highly regarded quarterback from Skyline High in Sammamish, Wash., who visited USC last weekend, reportedly will announce his college choice Wednesday…. Quarterback Jesse Scroggins, limited because of a hip injury, was absent to concentrate on academics, Kiffin said. Asked if Scroggins was in danger of being ineligible if he does not achieve a certain standard this semester, Kiffin said, "Yes, but you have a number of kids like that every semester, so they have to finish strong."… Middle linebacker Lamar Dawson, from Junction City, Ky., was pleased with Kentucky's victory over Kansas in the NCAA men's basketball final Monday night. "I follow Kentucky and root for them," Dawson said, "so it was very exciting for them to get the championship." …. Former Trojans defensive tackle Armond Armstead is scheduled to work out for NFL teams Wednesday in Sacramento. Armstead did not play in 2011 because USC doctors did not clear him after he was briefly hospitalized last spring for chest pain. Armstead and USC officials declined to specify his condition, but Armstead has said that he was cleared by doctors outside USC.

gary.klein@latimes.com

twitter.com/latimesklein

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