Sunday, January 26, 2014
OU junior day on deck for No. 10 recruit
By Damon Sayles
Being one of the top-ranked players in the country comes with pressure -- unless you’re offensive lineman Jalin Barnett (Lawton, Okla./Lawton).
The No. 10 player in the ESPN Junior 300, Barnett brings a laid-back approach to the recruiting process and chooses to focus on simply improving rather than on where he’s ranked or which schools are -- or are not -- interested in him. Nothing tends to faze him, especially not the rigors of recruiting.
It’s this attitude, in addition to his versatile skill set as a lineman, that makes him such a wanted prospect in the Class of 2015. A 6-foot-4, 315-pound lineman, Barnett has offers from several BCS powerhouses, including Alabama, Auburn, Stanford and UCLA.
The one school that might have an inside on Barnett, however, is Oklahoma. Barnett will take in the Sooners’ junior day on Feb. 1.
“Recruiting’s been great. I’ve been talking to OU a lot,” said Barnett, who is being recruited by Sooners offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh. “I feel pretty good about it so far.”
Barnett said Oklahoma is an early frontrunner, but schools such as Auburn and Stanford are intriguing. He’s hoping to learn more about them as the spring progresses.
“I really don’t know much about Auburn, but their coaches have been real with me,” Barnett said. “With Stanford, I know that can be a school I could go to and get a good degree. My core average [GPA] right now is 3.67.”
Barnett, a tackle at the high school level considered the nation’s top-ranked guard prospect, said track and field has helped him stay competitive during the offseason. He throws the shot put and discus for his high school team, and he has been maintaining his speed and strength by way of drills.
Barnett added that he’s uncertain about taking any spring trips or taking in any upcoming camps -- but he isn’t opposed to any invitations. Right now, he’s just focused on being better than last year.
“I just want to keep improving. That’s my priority,” he said. “It felt pretty good being ranked high. I wasn’t expected to be ranked at all. It’s pretty amazing.”