Commitment #17: TE/DE Blake Barker
Scout.com's No. 10 tight end and three-star prospect Blake Barker committed to Stanford early Friday afternoon.
"Ever since I visited Stanford back on the first Junior Day (Feb. 27) I knew it was going to be in my Top 3," Barker said. "It offered me everything I want academically and athletically. The only thing that was holding me back was the distance, but all that (the school) offered me has overcome that. I realized that I need to get away from home to enjoy the real college experience."
Hailing from Cambridge, Mass., Barker helped lead the Buckingham Browne & Nichols Knights to a state championship last season. He hauled in 22 passes for 405 yards and four touchdowns at the tight end position while notching 42 tackles, 12.5 sacks and two forced fumbles as a defensive end.
Barker was being recruited by schools for both positions, and he is open to playing either, but his mindset playing at the collegiate level has always been on the offensive side of the ball.
"I want to go (to Stanford) as a tight end, and then see where I am needed the most," said Barker, who holds a 6-6, 235-pound physique and runs a 4.75 forty-yard dash, more of a "hand-down" TE than say, a Coby Fleener-type, "stand-up" end.
"I want to get on the field as soon as possible. I want to help the team as soon as possible and do whatever is in the team's best interest."
With one of the most important decisions of his life out of the way, Barker said he can now relax and little bit and enjoy his summer.
"This process has been pretty hectic at times, but it's definitely a blessing what I've gone through," he said. "It's been stressful at times and fun at times, but it definitely feels good to commit and be 100 percent about my decision."
Barker called Coach Harbaugh around noon on Friday and gave him the good news.
"I told him I wanted to be a part of the team and help them win a national championship," Barker said. "(Coach Harbaugh) was so excited, he was pumped. He told me he knows a lot of recruits and feels like I naturally fit into Stanford."
If the head on Barker's shoulders and his athleticism are any indications, he will be a natural fit on The Farm. Barker ended his junior year with a 3.5 GPA and recently improved his SAT score from an 1840 to a 1930.
"Stanford is very prestigious academically and that was one of the biggest factors in my decision," he said. "I attend a prep school and it is very rigorous academically, and I've always pushed myself academically and athletically. I didn't want to go to a school that didn't offer me the best of both worlds; I want to challenge myself both ways."
Barker admitted that the resurgence of the Stanford football program was also a key proponent that confirmed his ultimate decision.
"Coach Harbaugh is doing some great things with the program, he's bringing in some great players and I definitely want to be a part of helping build the program," said Barker. "(Harbaugh) really knows what he is talking about and knows what the players want. I know that all the players he's recruited have bought into his system, and I think he really impresses upon them what it means to be the best at everything."
The Cardinal faithful will get a first glimpse of their new tight end next month. Barker told The Bootleg he is planning on attending the "Friday Night Lights" event on July 24.
About the Author: Scott Cooley is a seasoned sports writer who was groomed as a reporter for ESPN.com, and he most recently served as the media relations manager for the San Jose SaberCats arena football team. He earned a Business and Economics degree from Hendrix College where he also played baseball. Cooley has a passion for producing sports content, and his writing evokes thought into the minds of his readers with a witty and entertaining style. He is a freelance writer who has been published on multiple media platforms and is always looking for additional opportunities. Cooley and his wife, Christina, reside in Palo Alto where she is pursuing a Ph.D. in chemistry at Stanford. Feel free to contact him at email@example.com
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