OU, Barnett relationship still strong

A lot of in-state recruits saw their stock increase during the spring. But it's tough to argue against Jalin Barnett still being No. 1.

The talk of the spring in the state has been about Oklahoma City Casady offensive lineman Josh Wariboko and his decommitment from Oklahoma.

Or the focus has been on Midwest City (Okla.) High safety Will Sunderland and how he has exploded on the national scene.

Nobody is saying Wariboko and Sunderland don't deserve attention, but it's tough to argue that the best prospect in the state isn't still Lawton (Okla.) High offensive lineman Jalin Barnett.

Just because he's quiet doesn't mean Barnett isn't putting in the work. Once around 325 pounds, Barnett is now around 302 and said he's never felt better.

"On his own, he thought he was too heavy and dropped 20 pounds," Lawton coach Randy Breeze said. "A lot of the baby fat he has now is in his chest. I wouldn't change anything about Jalin."

Barnett isn't ready to release a top five of any sort. The only conclusive thing he said is in-state powers OU and Oklahoma State are going to continue to receive strong looks.

He's not likely to camp anywhere this summer, but Barnett said he does plan on attending the camps in Norman and Stillwater to interact with the coaches some more.

"I'm thinking about narrowing it down when we get closer to the season," Barnett said. "I have a great relationship with the coaches at OU and OSU."

Barnett said when he got up to 325 pounds, he knew something had to change. He didn't like the way he felt. He said he feels 10 times better at 6-foot-4 and 302 pounds. Recent offers include SEC schools Tennessee and Arkansas. Add those to schools like Auburn, Alabama and Stanford, and it's clear Barnett is going to have his choice of school.

The Sooners have made him a No. 1 priority, and it's something Barnett has really appreciated. And it's something OU has had to do because of Barnett's values.

"I say it all the time, but I want a great relationship with my coaches," Barnett said. "I have a great relationship with Coach (Bill) Bedenbaugh and those guys. They know me. I know them. We're best buds."

Barnett is never going to be the rah-rah guy or the vocal guy, but Breeze said he might be the best leader by example he has had the privilege of coaching.

"He's the most humble, classy guy around," Breeze said. "He does his talking through his work ethic. He works so hard in the classroom, the weight room – that he becomes that leader. He has never missed a day in the weight room and his teammates see that.

"If he's going to work that hard, they know they better be working like that, too."

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