Matt Barkley would take studying analogies and vocab over prepping for the NFL Draft, as the former USC quarterback called his preparations for the upcoming NFL combine as "like the SAT times thousands".
In a story in the Pensacola News Journal, Barkley compared his upcoming appearance in the combine to the make-or-break college entrance exam. The 22-year-old finds himself in South Florida at the IMG Sports Academy as he rehabs a shoulder injury that caused him to miss his team's final two games. He'll be one of 16 quarterbacks at the combine.
The 22-year-old could have lessened the importance of the combine his senior year. He decided to come back to college as a senior despite what would have likely been a high selection in last year's draft. His team was ranked No. 1 in the preseason, and the race to be the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft was his to lose. But Barkley didn't impress, as his Trojans went 7-6 and finished unranked, far from the national title picture, and his statistics dropped in virtually every category - well, every category except for interceptions, which increased from seven as a junior to 15 as a senior despite throwing 59 fewer passes.
Having performed poorly as a senior, the combine does serve as an opportunity for Barkley to prove he still has the physical skills if he wants to be a first round pick, but that could be a long shot at this point. Dan Kadar of Mocking the Draft didn't include Barkley in his most recent mock, with Geno Smith and Tyler Wilson the only two quarterbacks going in the first round.
Barkley probably would prefer the test was academic - he was named the 2012 National Football Foundation Scholar-Athlete of the Year. He'll have a chance to show off his brains on the Wonderlic, which some teams do look at as they look for high IQ quarterbacks, but Barkley's future rests on his arm.