Bloomington – Indiana is in search of playmakers in its 2009 football recruiting class, and that's exactly what Lawrence Barnett has proven to be for Ft. Wayne's Bishop Luers H.S.
In two sports.
The 5'10", 180-pound cornerback is one of the state's top corners, a player who capped a standout junior season by returning an interception 28 yards for a touchdown to secure Luers' state 2A championship game win over Heritage Christian.
But he's also done it on the basketball court. He teamed with standout '10 recruit Deshaun Thomas to lead Luers to its first-ever state title in the spring. While Thomas' play generally stole the headlines, Barnett averaged 13.9 points and team-highs of 5.5 assists and 2.4 steals to help Luers on its championship run.
Barnett admits basketball was his first love when he first arrived in high school, but as time went on he realized football was most likely his future.
"I was all about basketball, but I had to see there aren't too many 5'10" point guards making it to college or making it to that next level," Barnett said. "So I had to look at the big picture. I'm good at football too, and I knew that might be my ticket to college."
It appears that will be the case. Barnett has football scholarship offers from Indiana, Northern Illinois, Toledo, Bowling Green, Central Michigan and Wyoming to date. He said he's also hearing from Cincinnati, Michigan State, Illinois and Louisville, and offers could be forthcoming after camp appearances.
With his football future in mind, Barnett has given up summer AAU basketball (he played with Thomas on the Spiece Indy Heat last summer) and is focusing on attending spring and summer football combines along with making unofficial visits.
One of those unofficials was to Indiana, where he attended one of IU's spring practice sessions. While the Hoosiers had yet to offer a scholarship at that time, they have since extended the offer after Barnett posted some very solid marks at the Scout.com Combine in Cincinnati.
"I was hoping (the offer from Indiana) was coming," said Barnett, who was offered about two weeks ago. "They said they think I'm a good cover corner and is a playmaker with my coverage, and they also like my ability to return punts."
Indiana has made it clear they like Barnett, and he appears to be reciprocating that interest.
"I want to find a place where I think I can fit in, where there's a family atmosphere with the team and the coaching staff, a place where I can go and compete for a starting spot or get some early playing time," Barnett said. "I get that feeling (at Indiana). When I was down there for practice Coach (Kyle) Conner is really cool, and Coach (Bill) Lynch was great. I want to get back down there this summer and see the rest of the campus."
While the people around the IU program have impressed Barnett, so has the team's recent success. Indiana ended a 14-year bowl drought last fall with its trip to the Insight Bowl, and that means something to Barnett.
"Indiana is an up and coming, growing team," Barnett said. "Coach Lynch and the rest of the staff have done a good job with them. It's also big for me to see they had a corner go in the second round of the draft. That's something I need to look at when I make my decision."
Plenty for IU to Like About Luers' Barnett
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