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Old 02-11-2013, 10:04 AM   #1157
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Matt Barkley calls the Combine “the biggest test of my life”
Posted by Michael David Smith on February 11, 2013, 7:01 AM EST
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Matt Barkley was viewed in some circles as the likely first overall pick in the 2013 NFL draft before his senior season at USC. But that season was a disappointment, and now many people don’t think he’s a first-round pick at all.

Barkley says he needs to prove those people wrong at the Scouting Combine.

“This is probably the biggest test of my life coming up,” Barkley told the Pensacola News Journal. “This is like the SAT times thousands. I hear the whole couple days is a grind. But I am looking forward to that challenge. I am excited about it.”

After a great junior season in which he passed for 39 touchdowns and only seven interceptions, Barkley announced that he would return for his senior year and instantly became the frontrunner for the first overall pick in 2013, as well as the Heisman Trophy and the national championship. Instead, Barkley’s touchdowns declined to 36 while his interceptions more than doubled to 15, he hurt his shoulder at the end of the year and USC finished 7-6.

“It was tough in some circumstances, but I did have some great moments … some moments I will cherish,” Barkley said. “We had some unfortunate losses that put a damper on the year. But the experiences I accumulated these last couple months have prepared me better to go into the NFL right now as opposed to last year. So I wouldn’t trade it.”

Barkley says his shoulder injury has healed well enough that he can throw and will do everything at the Combine. Passing that test would go a long way toward erasing the disappointment of his senior season.
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