A standout since his freshman season, Blake Barnes is expected to be one the top prospects in the Magnolia state this season, regardless of position. As a junior, he passed for 2,500 yards and 37 touchdowns. Throwing during passing drills at the combine for top high school football players, an obviously strong arm with lots of touch and accuracy make it easy to understand why Barnes is already attracting attention from college coaches.
It also helps that Barnes has good size and good grades. He measured six-foot-two, 215 pounds on his visit to Auburn to begin the 2003 camp circuit after a junior year at Baldwyn High, where he had a perfect 4.0 grade point average.
With 4.7 speed in the 40, Barnes is expected to be a starter for a third consecutive season. He has concentrated on football in high school and his training as a passer started when he was young.
"My dad helped me with my passing," Barnes tells Inside the Auburn Tigers. "He wasn't a quarterback. When I was young he had me in the backyard throwing. We used to throw everyday. His brother was a quarterback and my dad threw with him. He got a scholarship, but never played because of a knee injury."
Barnes runs a spread offense at Baldwyn High that he says is 50-50 on run/pass. "We do a lot of different things out of the offense," notes the QB, who has 62 career passing touchdowns going into his senior season.
His current top five picks are all SEC schools. "I am looking at Auburn, Alabama, Ole Miss, Mississippi State and Arkansas are the main ones," says Barnes, who notes that he will attend several camps this summer. "I really haven't decided which ones I am going to yet."
Barnes describes his style of play as being a pocket passer who likes to take advantage of a strong arm. On sideline patterns, receivers at the Nike Combine had to be ready to handle a pass that featured plenty of zip when Barnes was throwing the football. He also showed a very accurate arm and good mobility in the pocket.
Tiger Ticket Extra: Barnes took advantage of the Nike Combine trip being on the campus of a college he is considering to come in early and check out AU's facilities.