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Monday, November 26, 2012
Juco punter Barnett commits to Sooners

By Bob Przybylo

The stage was set for Oklahoma to earn a commitment following an emotional 51-48 overtime victory against Bedlam rival Oklahoma State.

But nobody saw it coming from a punter. That’s exactly what happened as junior college punter Jed Barnett (Oakland, Calif./Laney CC) confirmed he committed to the Sooners on Monday night.

Barnett was originally committed to Louisiana Tech but switched to OU following a positive official visit to Norman, Okla., for Bedlam.

“This has been an exciting day. I don’t know what else to say,” Barnett said. “I feel blessed to truly have this opportunity. I’m motivated to get to work.”

Barnett’s host was kicker Michael Hunnicutt, somebody who Barnett has known for years through the Chris Sailer Kicking Academy. Both were in the 2010 class but have taken different routes to get to OU.

Barnett, who said he is 6-foot-3 and 220 pounds, spent a year and a half as a preferred walk-on at California. But after talking with his family he decided a change of scenery was in his best interest. He punted this season for Laney Community College, averaging 41.3 yards per kick in 65 attempts.

He has two years to play two but could have the option for a third year. As a redshirt freshman he was injured, and he said he could apply for a medical hardship for a third year.

But that’s down the road. Right now he’s happy to be part of the Sooners. It didn’t look like OU was on the search for a punter, but Barnett said things started to change in the last couple of weeks.

Talks started between Barnett and OU assistant coach Bobby Jack Wright. Things got more serious with discussions between Barnett and OU coach Bob Stoops and the official visit to OU was set for last weekend.

“It was an amazing experience,” Barnett said. “I really wanted to see how special the program is, and I did. I enjoyed my time with the coaching staff.

“I love how the staff does everything the right way. They motivate you and they do everything with integrity. It’s a program I want to be a part of.”

What stood out most to Barnett was Stoops and his willingness to connect with Barnett. He said Stoops sat down and talked with him several times during the weekend.

“He is somebody I admire a lot as a coach and leader. He didn’t have to do what he did, but he spent a lot of time with me before the game and all weekend and let me know how much he would love to have me at OU.

Barnett, who is OU's 13th commitment for the Class of 2013, considered taking more official visits. But now that he’s with OU, he said those plans have been scrapped.

“I’m so motivated right now. I cannot wait for this opportunity,” Barnett said. “I don’t think it’s fully set in yet – the reality of the situation. But it has been a day I will not forget.”