LOS ANGELES, Calif. — Former USC quarterback Matt Barkley was back in action Wednesday for the first time since Nov. 17 when he suffered a sprained shoulder against UCLA.
The Trojans’ senior signal caller missed the regular season finale hosting Notre Dame and was not cleared in time to play in the Sun Bowl.
Barkley has spent the last two months undergoing treatment and rehab to prepare his shoulder and arm for USC’s pro day. He was unable to participate in the Senior Bowl and the NFL Combine.
In front of 31 NFL organizations, media, and USC teammates, Barkley threw 62 scripted passes at pro day. He completed 56 of those attempts, including two drops by his receivers.
“It was a great day just to come out and throw the ball around,” he told a crowded media huddle after the workout. “I thought it was a good day, you always try to be perfect, especially on a day like this. But I’m pleased with how the guys came out and ran routes and how the ball came out.”
“I think he looked great,” said former USC receiver Robert Woods. “His balls were in great position. The balls he did overthrow were just by one step -- and that’s timing to work with a team. That’s nothing.”
Woods said the velocity on Barkley’s ball felt “the same” as it did prior to Barkley’s shoulder injury and at times “seemed even stronger”.
Barkley said he knew before Wednesday’s throwing session that his arm was back to full strength. “I think today was just proof that I still have an arm,” Barkley said smiling, “and that I still can throw.”
Asked if he was nervous for the audition, Barkley quickly quipped "no" followed by a round of light-hearted laughter.
He is currently projected as a first-round pick in April’s NFL draft.