Blake Barnett, the recruiter

Quarterbacks are often the headliners of their school’s recruiting class, and they often help out with the final group of signees, but Blake Barnett’s run holding both titles with Alabama over the last six-plus months has been a story within itself.

Maybe it’s the California cool, maybe it’s the big arm, or maybe it’s technology.

Probably a combination of those and more, there’s no denying Blake Barnett’s impact on the University of Alabama’s class of 2015. Since he jumped on board in June, as the Crimson Tide beat out Oregon for his verbal commitment, the program has added a pair of five stars and several key pieces on along the offensive line and defensive secondary – many of which he’s personally wanted to help recruit.

A lot of prospects say it, but he’s lived it. Many other recruits, both committed to Alabama and otherwise, vouch for him and there’s more tangible evidence. In the contact period that ran through early December, he asked Nick Saban and company to spend critical time and resources meeting with other prospects instead of taking extra time with the program’s five-star quarterback commitment and class headliner. They listened.

“He’s a real outgoing kid, personable, friendly and smart,” Scout National Recruiting Analyst Greg Biggins said. “Barnett has a presence about him, just seems like a natural leader that others would want to play with.”

Even a player who just committed to an ACC school, Lawrence Cager, had nothing but good things to say about Barnett’s approach when asked why he’s become such a noted recruiter.

“Because Blake is awesome,” he said, laughing. "And he’s a great QB. He just talks about how me and him could take over the SEC passing game.”

Perhaps the biggest hat-tip on the Corona (Calif.) Santiago signal-caller’s success on the trail comes from the recruit that once held the title. Not to mention, Mekhi Brown has been committed to Alabama since April of 2013 -- his sophomore year of high school.

With social media, a massive group text full of elite prospects and a little wit in between, Barnett and Alabama now have its collective eye set on one of the final pieces to the class of 2015 puzzle in Scout100 running back Damien Harris, who makes his decision on Friday.

“He’s a great player and everyone wants to play with him,” Brown said of Barnett. “Blake’s recruited Damien the most.”

The No. 3 quarterback in the country has indeed built a bond with the Barea (Ky.) Madison Southern talent, set to decide between the Crimson Tide, home state Kentucky Wildcats and Ohio State Buckeyes. Fate hasn’t hurt the process. The two were paired on the same 7-On team at Nike’s “The Opening,” when Barnett was the newest Saban pledge of them all.

Admitting they have been in contact weekly since then, the two also elected to make a pair of visits to Alabama together, including for an official visit on the weekend of November 29, as Alabama hosted rival Auburn for a high-scoring Iron Bowl affair.

Barnett (8) and Harris (34) on the official visit

The two were again paired on the same team for the Under Armour All-America Game, which was another week-long event. Many reports say the two spent plenty of time together at the late junction, wrapping up about a month before national signing day. Since the game the two have entered separate stages. Barnett headed to Tuscaloosa to enroll early and began college classes on Wednesday. Harris went home to prepare for his big ceremony on Friday.

No matter where he ends up, the running back in the equation proved a lot of people wrong amid Barnett’s courting with a head-turning performance in the Under Armour event on January 2.

“The knock against him has always been who he played high school ball against, so I thought it was huge for him to put up over 100 yards and a score against the nation’s best,” Scout National Recruiting Analyst Allen Trieu said. “He looked bigger and ran inside better than I think people thought he would.”

The only question remaining for Harris (pictured below), who also overcame a late injury during his senior season in order to play in last week’s game, is which team he’ll carry the ball for the next time it counts. Could Barnett and Alabama really sway Kentucky’s top prospect out of the state for the first time in the Mark Stoops era in Lexington?

A media and invite-only press conference is scheduled at Madison Southern’s gym at 1:15 p.m. local time.


BamaMag Top Stories

\r\n

Admitting they have been in contact weekly since then, the two also elected to make a pair of visits to Alabama together, including for an official visit on the weekend of November 29, as Alabama hosted rival Auburn for a high-scoring Iron Bowl affair.

\r\n[MEDIA:1461642]\r\nBarnett (8) and Harris (34) on the official visit\r\n

The two were again paired on the same team for the Under Armour All-America Game, which was another week-long event. Many reports say the two spent plenty of time together at the late junction, wrapping up about a month before national signing day. Since the game the two have entered separate stages. Barnett headed to Tuscaloosa to enroll early and began college classes on Wednesday. Harris went home to prepare for his big ceremony on Friday.

\r\n

No matter where he ends up, the running back in the equation proved a lot of people wrong amid Barnett’s courting with a head-turning performance in the Under Armour event on January 2.

\r\n

“The knock against him has always been who he played high school ball against, so I thought it was huge for him to put up over 100 yards and a score against the nation’s best,” Scout National Recruiting Analyst Allen Trieu said. “He looked bigger and ran inside better than I think people thought he would.”

\r\n

The only question remaining for Harris (pictured below), who also overcame a late injury during his senior season in order to play in last week’s game, is which team he’ll carry the ball for the next time it counts. Could Barnett and Alabama really sway Kentucky’s top prospect out of the state for the first time in the Mark Stoops era in Lexington?

\r\n

A media and invite-only press conference is scheduled at Madison Southern’s gym at 1:15 p.m. local time.

\r\n\r\n[MEDIA:1457353]\r\n\r\n
\r\n","mobileBody":"Maybe it’s the California cool, maybe it’s the big arm, or maybe it’s technology.

Probably a combination of those and more, there’s no denying Blake Barnett’s impact on the University of Alabama’s class of 2015. Since he jumped on board in June, as the Crimson Tide beat out Oregon for his verbal commitment, the program has added a pair of five stars and several key pieces on along the offensive line and defensive secondary – many of which he’s personally wanted to help recruit.

A lot of prospects say it, but he’s lived it. Many other recruits, both committed to Alabama and otherwise, vouch for him and there’s more tangible evidence. In the contact period that ran through early December, he asked Nick Saban and company to spend critical time and resources meeting with other prospects instead of taking extra time with the program’s five-star quarterback commitment and class headliner. They listened.

“He’s a real outgoing kid, personable, friendly and smart,” National Recruiting Analyst Greg Biggins said. “Barnett has a presence about him, just seems like a natural leader that others would want to play with.”

Even a player who just committed to an ACC school, Lawrence Cager, had nothing but good things to say about Barnett’s approach when asked why he’s become such a noted recruiter.

“Because Blake is awesome,” he said, laughing. \"And he’s a great QB. He just talks about how me and him could take over the SEC passing game.”

Perhaps the biggest hat-tip on the Corona (Calif.) Santiago signal-caller’s success on the trail comes from the recruit that once held the title. Not to mention, Mekhi Brown has been committed to Alabama since April of 2013 -- his sophomore year of high school.

With social media, a massive group text full of elite prospects and a little wit in between, Barnett and Alabama now have its collective eye set on one of the final pieces to the class of 2015 puzzle in running back Damien Harris, who makes his decision on Friday.

“He’s a great player and everyone wants to play with him,” Brown said of Barnett. “Blake’s recruited Damien the most.”

The No. 3 quarterback in the country has indeed built a bond with the Barea (Ky.) Madison Southern talent, set to decide between the Crimson Tide, home state Kentucky Wildcats and Ohio State Buckeyes. Fate hasn’t hurt the process. The two were paired on the same 7-On team at Nike’s “The Opening,” when Barnett was the newest Saban pledge of them all.

Blake Barnett looking good early on, finds Damien Harris here for a TD #RTR #TheOpening #Elite11 http://t.co/1b9Aax0l44

— Brian Stumpf (@Stumpf_Brian) July 10, 2014

Admitting they have been in contact weekly since then, the two also elected to make a pair of visits to Alabama together, including for an official visit on the weekend of November 29, as Alabama hosted rival Auburn for a high-scoring Iron Bowl affair.

[MEDIA:1461642]

The two were again paired on the same team for the Under Armour All-America Game, which was another week-long event. Many reports say the two spent plenty of time together at the late junction, wrapping up about a month before national signing day. Since the game the two have entered separate stages. Barnett headed to Tuscaloosa to enroll early and began college classes on Wednesday. Harris went home to prepare for his big ceremony on Friday.

No matter where he ends up, the running back in the equation proved a lot of people wrong amid Barnett’s courting with a head-turning performance in the Under Armour event on January 2.

“The knock against him has always been who he played high school ball against, so I thought it was huge for him to put up over 100 yards and a score against the nation’s best,” National Recruiting Analyst Allen Trieu said. “He looked bigger and ran inside better than I think people thought he would.”

The only question remaining for Harris (pictured below), who also overcame a late injury during his senior season in order to play in last week’s game, is which team he’ll carry the ball for the next time it counts. Could Barnett and Alabama really sway Kentucky’s top prospect out of the state for the first time in the Mark Stoops era in Lexington?

A media and invite-only press conference is scheduled at Madison Southern’s gym at 1:15 p.m. local time.

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