It’s true Lawton (Okla.) High offensive lineman Jalin Barnett is the No. 1-ranked prospect in the state and in the Scout 300 for the 2015 class.
It’s true he has his choice among many quality programs and is an Under Armour All-American. It’s all true, but it’s not something he is worried about right now.
Barnett, who has only taken one official visit, doesn’t really care about recruiting right now as he is solely focused on helping Lawton win a state championship.
Even though the wear and tear could accumulate, Barnett said he doesn’t have any problems with playing both offensive and defensive line for the Wolverines this season. All he wants is that gold ball.
“That’s where my focus is right now,” Barnett said. “It’s just on the team and doing whatever it takes to get a state championship.”
So that puts things in a holding pattern as four schools wait patiently to see what Barnett ends up deciding. It appeared for a long time there was no way Oklahoma wasn’t going to land the four-star prospect.
However, as time has gone on, it’s clear Arkansas is a major player, and it could be a legit 50-50 shot for the Sooners and Razorbacks.
His lone trip was back to Arkansas in September, and he said he loved it and his family loved it. Not feeling rushed like on an unofficial, Barnett was able to see everything for himself.
Barnett has visited OU plenty of times in the last two seasons but has yet to come to Norman for a home game this season. That could change this weekend when No. 10 Baylor comes to OU, but it also wouldn’t be a shock if Barnett stays home.
“Nothing has changed at all (in the last month),” Barnett said. “I still want to take all four of my visits and decide from there.”
This is the final week of the OKPreps regular season, and Lawton is in the short list of legitimate state championship contenders so it wouldn’t be surprising to see Barnett not on any college campus until December.
As focused as he has been on the season, Barnett said he understands that recruiting is a big part of things, too. It just hasn’t been easy.
“It has been tough to balance this season,” Barnett said. “The toughest thing has been trying to make contact with the coaches because I’m always so tired after practice or have homework or things like that. I don’t want to be disrespectful, though.”
Lawton has 24 former students playing some sort of college football, including Oregon State defensive starters Jabral Johnson and Ty Zimmerman. But not even those guys have gotten the attention like Barnett.
“It really has been something else,” Lawton coach Randy Breeze said. “Every day it’s just so many letters for Jalin, don’t know where he keeps them all. But I really do believe he has handled this as well as anybody I’ve ever known. He’s such a good kid, a humble kid. He doesn’t have a bad choice here.”
But it’s a choice that is going to take at least a little bit longer than originally anticipated.