Highly touted 4-star quarterback recruit Blake Barnett, who is ranked as the class of 2015's No. 65 prospect and No. 3 dual-threat signal-caller in the country by 247 Sports, decommitted from Notre Dame on Wednesday.
Barnett posted a statement on his Twitter account:
Justin Hopkins of 247 Sports reported the news, along with comments Barnett made regarding his decision.
"I'm no longer committed to Notre Dame and I have opened up my recruitment," Barnett told Hopkins. "I'm not committed to Oregon or anywhere and I've decided to explore my options."
The reason Barnett mentions Oregon is because he took a visit there on Tuesday, per Hopkins. Barnett hails from Santiago High School in Corona, California, and should have plenty of offers rolling in.
Jake Brown of Rivals.com feels this loss is devastating for the Fighting Irish:
It is a bit surprising that Barnett opted out of his deal with Notre Dame, where he could have learned in coach Brian Kelly's spread offense. Barnett's skill set is tailored to thrive in such a system, but given the upside he has, he should fare well as part of just about any top-tier program fortunate enough to land him.
Barnett is listed at 6'3.5" and 195 pounds on 247 Sports profile, and his highlights show a player who has legitimate speed in the open field and the arm to beat opponents from the pocket. Oregon may be a great destination for him, as the Ducks also deploy a spread, uptempo style of play.
Although his delivery is a bit elongated and his mechanics leave something to be desired, few prospects have the ceiling Barnett has. There is room for Barnett to add bulk to his ideal frame, and his natural arm talent and athleticism give him the look of a future star at the collegiate level. His skill set and look on the gridiron bring to mind a prominent quarterback playing in Barnett's home state—San Francisco 49ers star Colin Kaepernick.
A long road awaits for Barnett to fulfill that type of promise, but he has all the tools to shine as a quarterback in a similar mold. The position is evolving to accommodate players who can make plays with their legs. Barnett is the prototype for the quarterbacks of the future, and he could prove that in due time by putting together an excellent college career.
While it stands to reason that Oregon is a strong candidate to land Barnett, he has indicated that any school is fair game. All the best programs should be fighting for Barnett's services, because he has all the makings of a strong field general.
As for the Irish, senior Everett Golson is likely to lead Notre Dame in 2014, but the Irish's quarterback situation looks rather tenuous beyond this upcoming season. Landing Barnett would have helped secure the position for the foreseeable future, but now Kelly has more work ahead of him on the recruiting front.