Monday, October 21, 2013
OU in good shape with top 2015 recruit
By William Wilkerson
The Oklahoma Sooners are already a step above most when it comes to recruiting 2015 offensive linemen given they’ve already garnered a commitment from ESPN 300 guard Joshua Wariboko (Oklahoma City, Okla./Casady).
Jalin Barnett, who is the nation's top-ranked 2015 offensive guard, has built a solid bond with Oklahoma offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh.
But they can really ensure the interior of their offensive front will be in good shape for years to come should they find a way to land the nation’s top junior guard, Jalin Barnett (Lawton, Okla./Lawton).
It’s a feat that doesn’t seem that far-fetched considering OU is the only school Barnett has visited, and is the only school he currently has plans of visiting again.
He made his first unofficial visit to OU in April and picked up an offer soon after the trip. He returned the following week for the Sooners’ spring game and then again for their camp in June.
Barnett was also on hand for Oklahoma’s home opener and plans on taking in another one of its games this season, though, he doesn’t know which one that will be.
So why is the state of Oklahoma’s top player, and the No. 8 player in the ESPN Junior 300, so fond of the Sooners? A lot of it has to do with the relationship he has built with offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh.
“I think it is a pretty cool relationship,” said Barnett, who grew up an Oklahoma State fan but whose grandfather is pro-OU. “They are spending time on me and I am not even a senior yet. I think he is pretty awesome. He takes the time out to stay in touch with me every week. He congratulates me on my wins.”
Having that bond with your position coach is key in any recruitment since that is the person you’ll be spending most of your time with. As it stands, Barnett said his relationship with Bedenbaugh is the strongest he has with any college coach.
“I think it is important to have a good relationship with your positions coach, and I think me and him already have a good relationship,” he said.
Though Oklahoma already appears to be in good shape with Barnett, his recruitment is far from over.
In addition to OU, Barnett also has offers from Auburn, Oregon State, Stanford, Texas State and Texas Tech.
When asked if any of these schools were standing out, Barnett said no.
One reason might be because so many schools that have offered have great academics programs, too. That’s vital in his search for where he wants to go to school.
“Academics is very important to me because I really want to get a college education,” he said.
It might also be because he knows so little about some of the programs that have recruited him and he wants to find out more before narrowing things down. After all, it’s not that often that schools from the SEC and Pac 12 travel to Lawton.
“It was great [when Auburn and Stanford visited],” he said. “Lawton is a small town. A lot of people don’t even know this town. All I remember is that it was pretty cool knowing that these schools came all that way just for me. It was great.”
One school Barnett wants to recruit him is Oregon.
“I just like the way they play,” he said. “I like their style.”