BIRMINGHAM, Alabama – When Blake Barnett took a trip to the University of Alabama last week, he never could have imagined that he’d commit to the school less than a week later.
But the visit had so much of an impact on the 4-star quarterback from Corona, Calif., that he committed to play for the Crimson Tide on Wednesday. Barnett is listed as a dual-threat quarterback and plays in a hurry-up, no-huddle offense for Santiago High School, but his coach feels he’ll make a smooth transition.
“It was a great time,” Barnett said of his visit. “I got to spend a lot of time with Coach (Nick) Saban and Coach (Lane) Kiffin as well. What they do down there and with their program and how they prepare their players for football after college and for life after college, it spoke greatly.”
Barnett was officially offered by Alabama in February, not long after he committed to Notre Dame. He said the Alabama coaches were respectful of his decision to commit to Notre Dame, but the two sides got in contact again after he decommitted from Notre Dame on June 4.
“The rest is history,” Barnett said.
Offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin, the former head coach at USC, recruited Barnett to Alabama.
READ: Why getting Blake Barnett could be a game-changer for Lane Kiffin and the Alabama offense
“He was a big influence,” Barnett said. “He wasn’t the deciding factor being the fact that Saban’s really the man in charge, but it made a huge difference knowing that Coach Kiffin is there, knowing he has an excellent offense and he’s had results with quarterbacks in the past from USC that have gone on to the next level, so that’s a great attribute.”
Barnett works in the offseason with quarterback coach Dennis Gile at The [Q] Quarterback Academy. Gile has worked with Barnett on transitioning to a pro style offense after high school.
“I do a lot of under center stuff and work on sitting in the pocket,” Barnett said. “The difference with the spread and pro style is being the fact it’s under center most of the time. We do a lot of zone read at my school but that’s my coach’s preference and that’s a west coast kind of thing. I don’t think it’ll be hard change.”
Barnett canceled a scheduled trip to Oregon this week and said he is 100 percent committed to Alabama. He will graduate from high school in December and come to Tuscaloosa next January.
For now, it’s all about recruiting players to Alabama and focusing on his senior season.
“I’m still unprepared for that being that this all escalated quickly, but I think Coach Kiffin’s going to give me some names pretty soon,” Barnett said.
“It’s awesome. It’s a relief, too, being the fact that I don’t have to stress about the recruiting process with other commits and worrying about what school is the right fit. It’s nice to find the place for it.”
Barnett will participate in the Elite 11 Camp, which runs in conjunction with The Opening, in early July.