USC quarterback Matt Barkley soared to many heights in four years, but a late-season injury in 2012 cost him the Notre Dame and Georgia Tech games with what he confirmed this week at the combine was a separated shoulder.
Barkley is a non-participant in drills this week, pointing to his pro day on March 27 as when, “I should be perfect to throw.”
Barkley, 6-2, 230, is one of 19 quarterbacks attending the combine. He is the latest of a long line of Trojan quarterbacks trying to make a mark in the NFL.
Barkley leads the list of combine QBs and believes he is the best performer in a draft class that includes Geno Smith and Mike Glennon, among others.
“I believe I am. I don’t think you can go into the draft not thinking you are,” said Barkley on Friday.
Barkley returned for a senior season after drawing some NFL attention a year ago. That draft class included Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III and Russell Wilson, and Barkley said he did not regret his decision.
“(I) wouldn’t change my USC career for anything,” he said.
In 47 games, Barkley earned a 34-13 starting record. In passing for more than 12,000 yards and 116 touchdowns, he set 20 school record career, season and game records, 10 of which established Pac-12 records.
Barkley was queried on past successes and non-successes of USC quarterbacks in the NFL. He cautioned that his story is his own and comparisons aren’t necessarily a fair thing to make.
That said, he admitted there is work to do.
“I think there’s always something to prove,” said Barkley. “I think you’re always looking for ways to better yourself. There’s definitely things I can improve on.”
Seattle coach Pete Carroll has a USC lineage. He also had the talents of Wilson in 2012. Carroll feels Barkley is set for the next step.
“I don’t think there’s anything that’s stopping him from being a starter right away,” said Carroll. “Now that quarterbacks can come in and make their way into the league and do it in such quick order, Matt will be able to do it, too.”
This year’s QB crop does not have the sizzle of last year’s bunch when Luck and Griffin III went 1-2, while Ryan Tannehill (8th) and Brandon Weeden (22nd) went in the opening round.
Tags: Andrew Luck, Brandon Weeden, Geno Smith, Matt Barkley, Mike Glennon, Pete Carroll, Robert Griffin III, Ryan Tannehill
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