Barnett plans official, thinking of next step

Blake Barnett had a busy weekend, and he got a lot accomplished in between his Friday night effort and heading to Tuscaloosa for his second game experience of the fall.

Making his second appearance of the fall, five-star Alabama quarterback commitment Blake Barnett was one of the Nick Saban's headlining visitors for the big weekend as the Crimson Tide took care of Texas A&M, 59-0.

But Barnett had already accomplished plenty on the football field in the previous 18 hours.

The dual-threat talent not only led Corona (Calif.) Santiago to a 49-35 win over Riverside (Calif.) King on Friday night, but he broke the Sharks’ passing yardage record in the process. He tossed for 491 yards and a trio of scores, running for another pair in the big win.

Then, he and his father, Lance, hustled to LAX for a long night of travel to SEC country. The duo made it, and it was the elder Barnett’s first game experience in Tuscaloosa.

“It was exciting, traveling over to the stadium and seeing the excitement from the fans was great,” he said. “I can’t wait to be a part of that. When the game started, the SEC and that stadium, it’s just a whole different level from what we’re used to seeing out west. You don’t want to go anywhere else, it is just electric.

“We met with Coach Saban on both days. He and Blake have a great relationship, and I have developed a great relationship with coach as well.”

A record-setting win, a pair of meetings with Saban, catching up with primary recruiter Lane Kiffin and helping the Crimson Tide recruit other priorities in multiple classes while witnessing a 59-0 win for the home team -- not bad. But it went by rather quickly for the Barnett’s, who had to hustle back to California on Sunday morning.

Late next month, the group will get to take in Tuscaloosa longer than any previous trip.

Barnett earned five-star status and won the Elite 11 MVP this summer.

“I’m really looking forward to the official visit,” Barnett said. “We can relax, take things in, and take in the whole experience. It’s going to be the Iron Bowl game. We’ll actually have Thanksgiving as a family out there, and his official visit will begin that Friday.”

A trip back to ‘Bama for the Mississippi State game two weeks before the annual tilt with Auburn is also now on the docket for Lance and Blake. It will be another chance for the early enroll prospect to soak in some tape with his future coaches before moving in on campus in January.

“We will be back for the Mississippi State game, coach said Blake is a good luck charm,” he said. “Plus, he goes over film with Coach Kiffin on Sundays and we obviously want to encourage that. Anytime he can learn (from the coaches), we’re all for that. It’s fun, helps with recruiting, and is a learning lesson for Blake in getting prepared for the next chapter.

“He (Kiffin) went over all of these things, when we first visited, about how Blake can excel. Now, you’re seeing those things on the field. A lot of people were questioning why he picked Alabama, saying, ‘they’re not going to utilize his talents.’ But now you see why he picked Alabama, because they will utilize his talents.”

Courting Barnett picked up for several schools on the national scene once he decommitted from Notre Dame in early June, but even back in February when UA initially offered’s No. 3 QB, the tone from Saban, Kiffin, and the Alabama staff has remained the same.

“Nothing really has changed; they were honest from Day One,” Lance Barnett said. “They showed us the offense, how Blake would fit into it and how they felt he would excel in it. It’s been more getting to know them as individuals. I couldn’t be more excited having Coach Saban take over Blake’s career…I trust him whole heartedly, not only as a student, but as a human being and as an athlete.

“I am very comfortable with him, I love the way he handles situations and his attention to detail. Blake made, absolutely, the right decision.”

Scout currently tabs Barnett, who has already signed a financial aid agreement with the program, as its No. 21 overall class of 2015 football prospect.

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