FAYETTEVILLE - Dallas prep tight end Chris Barnett was all smiles Saturday morning when he arrived at the University of Arkansas' Elite Football Camp.
Razorback fans no doubt hope Barnett, a four-star prospect and the seventh-best tight end nationally per Scout.com, has them smiling in the end.
Barnett (6-6, 250, 4.61), an outstanding prospect from A. Maceo Smith who recently de-committed from Oklahoma, is in Fayetteville for the fourth time this year already.
"To me Arkansas is one of the top programs in college football," Barnett said. "This is my fourth time here. They have great fans, great coaches, great facilities. It is a complete package and that's what has me so interested."
Barnett, one of over 300 prospects on hand for the Elite Camp, says Arkansas is number two with a bullet for his signature right now.
He also has offers and is considering USC, Miami, Florida, UCLA and Alabama.
"They (the Razorbacks) are in my top two, right at number two right now," Barnett said. "They could easily be number one soon. It will be just how things end up."
"I think Coach McGee has done a great job with me and got me liking them a lot more," Barnett said. "He is a real down-to-earth guy and is keeping it real with me. He doesn't feed you the BS that all the other coaches do."
Barnett, attending camp with good friend, linebacker and fellow Dallas prospect Anthony Wallace, likes what he sees from the Arkansas players – on and off the field.
"The players I have kicked it with are real cool – Greg Childs and Ryan Mallett," Barnett said. "I have spent some time with them. I've got to see how the team acts together and it is like a family atmosphere. It was great."
Barnett, who sports a 3.9 grade point average, is working on one specific part of his game, but notes he is blessed with some strengths based on his size and speed.
"I am working on route running," Barnett said. "I think that is my biggest problem. Not really a problem, but it is just the thing I do the worse.
"I think my size as well as my speed is the best thing for me," Barnett added. "I am too fast for linebackers and too big for defensive backs."
The fact that the tight end is a focus of Arkansas' passing game has also got his attention.
"That is one of their main weapons," Barnett said. "You are the first read and if you are open you are getting it. Sometimes even if you aren't open you are still getting it with a quarterback like Ryan Mallett, he is going to put it in there."
He also touted incoming Arkansas quarterback Brandon Allen, a 2011 Razorback commit.
"And with a quarterback like Brandon Allen coming here, I know he is going to be the next big thing at Arkansas at quarterback," Barnett said. "I have seen him throwing the ball and he can chunk it. That's what you want."
Barnett feels like he rushed his early commit to Oklahoma.
"I feel like I committed to Oklahoma on a junior day and that was like my fifth time being at Oklahoma," Barnett said. "I was like really feeling it and the relationship I had with the coaches.
"But then I was feeling like it was kind of early so I would back off of it and re-evaluate everything because when you go there, when you pick your school, you want to pick somewhere you would still go to school even if you couldn't play football there," Barnett added. I started looking at things like that and wanted to back out of it."
In addition to the two aforementioned schools, Barnett recently took a trip out west to see USC and UCLA.
"USC was nice," Barnett said. "It wasn't my first time meeting (Trojans' head coach) Lane Kiffin because I had met him when he came down from Tennessee. It's USC."
He says there was no talk of the sanctions recently handed down to USC.
"That is something that you don't really talk about because that is something that you are ashamed of even though some of the coaches weren't there when it happened and the players that we were talking to weren't there when it happened," Barnett said. "It's like one of the things you know about, one of the things everybody is aware of, but you don't speak about."
While Barnett is not inclined to end his recruiting in the near future, he also doesn't plan to take it to the wire.
He and Wallace may do a televised commitment together during the middle of his season.
"I am thinking about taking two or three officials because I am not going to nee all five of them," Barnett said. "I have been around everywhere so early. So I will probably take two or three and wrap it up early."