Though he looks the part of college ready quarterback now, these other pictures show where it all came from.
Blake Barnett, Alabama Quarterback Doesn’t Mind a Battle
By: Larry Burton
Blake Barnett is used to being a star and a starter, so sitting on the sideline won’t be something that sits well with him this fall. As a true freshman, Barnett will not start for the Tide this season unless a freak accident on the team bus sidelines those ahead of him. That’s just the way it is for freshman quarterbacks that play for Nick Saban.
But while it won’t sit well with him, he accepts it. But if you think that means that he’s not giving every practice 100%, then you just don’t know Barnett. He likes a good battle.
It’s not just being a top flight football player, Barnett is competitive in anything he does and always has. Like most football players, Barnett also dabbled in other ball sports, but he’s also tried and and battled to be good at such things at mountain biking and racing, skateboarding, golf and other sports.
But as a football player, it wasn’t always about being a top quarterback, just being the best he could be. In fact at one time, he didn’t have visions of being a top quarterback, but wanted to be the best defensive end in football. Yes, he loves a good battle and doesn’t shun the physical side of football.
But soon his ability to pass the pigskin got noticed and soon his future was charted. From his “Charger” days in elementary school, he goes from a defensive player to a quarterback.
And today, he is quarterbacking for the University of Alabama, learning the Crimson Tide system, battling for the coaches eye and learning from both the battles and from his competitors. But few know that his time for playing for Alabama could have been predetermined since he was three years old. Just one look at his choice for his Halloween costume may have told you that.
Barnett is set to be a star. Oregon wanted him badly and said he was the next “Marcus Mariota” and with his passing and rushing numbers from high school, it was easy to see why. The young man went from “just another kid” playing middle and high school football, he was a late bloomer that didn’t even start a game at quarterback until his junior year. He went from a no” star” talent and no college scholarship offers to a five star, number one prospect in a very short time.
In playing for a team that was never known to be a football powerhouse and without a strong supporting cast, Barnett threw for 3,404 yards, 23 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. But what really got Oregon’s attention was the 479 yards rushing and seven rushing touchdowns.
Every major program wanted him, but Alabama, with Lane Kiffin’s help, managed to land him. His father Lance has said that once he got the offer from Alabama and met with Lane Kiffin, it was all over. He is now at Alabama battling for a job he’s very unlikely to land this year, but he’s been working out with coaches outside the Alabama staff to get even better and he’s spent many days on end with Lane Kiffin, even before practice started, to get the playbook down and understand the system.
Saban has publicly praised Barnett’s work ethic off the field and his ability in the practices so far and said the competition is wide open and it wouldn’t be unthinkable for Barnett to wind up winning the job. While that may contain a little coach speak given that Barnett is very unlikely to land that job this season, the praise for the young man is not stretched.
This is a young man who is used to battling to get what he wants, but is patient enough to get all his ducks in a row first. This is a freshman to be watching. His metamorphosis shouldn’t surprise anyone when he’s a real contender for the starting job next season. What may be surprising is just how well he will do.
Larry has been published in almost every media outlet for college sports and now primarily writes here for Touchdown Alabama. Follow Larry on Twitter for inside thoughts and game time comments at https://twitter.com/LBSportswriter
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