Icon Sportswire

Icon Sportswire



When it was revealed that quarterback Brian Hoyer would be joining the San Francisco 49ers, Matt Barkley was among the first to text his former Chicago Bears teammate with congratulations. Shortly after that, he found himself joining his former Chicago teammate in San Francisco preparing to play for head coach Kyle Shanahan.

The two other quarterbacks on the roster are both rookies. C.J. Beathard was selected in the third round of the draft while Nick Mullens was signed as an undrafted free agent. Hoyer is the presumptive starter with Barkley currently backing him up. Beathard is the third quarterback while Mullens is the fourth. While it may seem like the depth chart at the position is set, Barkley insists that has not caused the group to stop competing with one another.

"In my mind, there is always a competition regardless of what your standing is on the roster," Barkley told the media on Monday. "So, I'm competing against myself, I'm competing against C.J., Nick, Brian, the whole room. We're all trying to make each other better so however you guys want to define it, go for it. But I'm just really trying to outplay everyone every day."

Barkley took an interesting road to the NFL. He opted to stay at USC for his senior year when he was likely to be a top-10 selection in the 2012 NFL Draft.

The Trojans entered the 2012 season with the No. 1 ranking in preseason polls. After starting the season 6-1, USC went on to lose five of its last six games, including three straight losses to end the season. The team finished 7-6, including an embarrassing loss in the Hyundai Sun Bowl. Barkley's once-high draft stock plummeted. He ended up being selected by the Philadelphia Eagles in the fourth round of the 2013 NFL Draft and lost out on all of the money he could have earned had he entered the draft a year earlier.

Barkley came from a pro-style offense at USC and then was drafted into Chip Kelly's offense. It's rare for a rookie quarterback to go from a pro-style offense to a collegiate-style offense. Usually, it is the reverse. Most quarterbacks entering the NFL have very little experience taking a snap under center or even working within a huddle.

"I kind of did it backwards, if you look at it that way," Barkley told Matt Maiocco of CSN Bay Area in May. "I do think playing for Chip in that offense was definitely a unique experience – to gain experience in that type of offense, running those plays, the zone read and all the different options he ran."

Barkley insists he has no regrets about staying at USC. He said that while the Trojans' season didn't turn out as planned, he didn't want to ever look back and regret what could have been.

While Barkley's NFL career could have taken a very different path, he remains competitive wherever he goes. San Francisco is no different. He's not ready to concede anything to Beathard, who took some snaps with the second-team offense on Monday. Nor is he ready to proclaim his friend Hoyer as the starter. The more the group competes with one another, the better each will become ... and Barkley is here to compete.