Multiple media reports confirmed, last night, the prediction made earlier this week that Blake Barnett has the starting quarterback job.
It was beginning to become clear that the staff was not satisfied with what they had in junior quarterback, Brett Kean, and sophomore, Chris Oladokun, when neither had an edge after spring camps. Barnett’s arrival in Tampa was more confirmation that they were still looking for an answer. After a couple of weeks of fall camp, however, it seems that none of the three really impressed the coaches by putting distance between themselves and the others.
Barnett began his career as a five star recruit out of Corona, California. He considered several elite options before choosing to play at Alabama. His story was a typical top recruit story, until the first game of his collegiate career. Barnett earned the starting job as a redshirt freshman. In his first game, he made exactly three passes, completing to two of them, before being benched in favor of true freshman, Jalen Hurts. To put that decision in perspective, Alabama hadn’t started a true freshman quarterback since Nick Fanuzzi in 2007.
Barnett has good size for a quarterback, 6-5, 217, and does not lack mobility. He’s a more than adequate runner and an accurate passer. Seeing him in practice and scrimmage, it is not hard to see why so many saw so much potential in him. As of now, though, that potential is unrealized. USF also presents a good opportunity for him to prove his doubters wrong. Following the graduation of the former dark-horse Heisman Trophy contender and numerous record smasher, Quinton Flowers, there will be some national interest in who steps in to replace him. There will also be those in the media who wonder if USF and UCF can continue to be successful programs at the same time, elevating their conference. So, if Barnett can win in Tampa, he’ll get the name he needs for the next level. If not, both he and USF will have to reconsider their options and future.