Case for No. 1
Alabama entered June still searching for a 2015 quarterback commit. A month later, it appears Nick Saban may have landed the best of the bunch.
Blake Barnett, a 6'4.5", 200-pound prospect from Santiago High School (Corona, California), never looked rattled during five days of competition. Aside from consistency, he flashed glimpses of stardom as a pocket passer who can drill the ball into tight spots.
Given his prowess as a rusher (1,000 yards on the ground last season), the combination of abilities creates a dynamic talent capable of dominating in Tuscaloosa. Though quarterbacks didn't run for yards in Beaverton, Barnett exhibited outstanding footwork and looked nimble during hurdle and ladder drills that others struggled to master.
He was named the Elite 11 MVP.
Highlight of the Week
Barnett quickly developed a rapport with future Alabama teammate Calvin Ridley, a Florida receiver who earned seven-on-seven tournament overall MVP honors. The two hooked up repeatedly during game action, leading their squad to a title at The Opening.
If it was a sign of things to come, SEC defensive backs better start preparing.
"We really found a rhythm together," Barnett said. "He's such a talented receiver, and it's big that we have a chance to build some chemistry before we both arrive at Alabama."
What the Future Holds
Barnett, who accounted for 35 total touchdowns as a junior, has several compelling quarterback showdowns this season. He'll battle Brady White in a rematch of their 2013 showdown that featured 105 total points.
His dual-threat abilities should provide a new dimension in Tuscaloosa, where Lane Kiffin is now the offensive coordinator.
"Coach Kiffin and Coach Saban were very fond about the idea of their quarterback being able to run the ball several times in each game," Barnett said. "It's something they were looking for, and it made sense as a fit for me."
Don't be surprised if he adds a new wrinkle to the Crimson Tide attack by his sophomore campaign.