For the first time during Nick Saban’s tenure at the University of Alabama, the Crimson Tide have received a verbal commitment from a dual-threat quarterback.
Blake Barnett, a four-star prospect from Corona, California is, per various recruiting outlets, the most highly touted quarterback commitment since Saban arrived in Tuscaloosa. After decommitting from Notre Dame, Barnett selected the Crimson Tide over the Oregon Ducks, giving Alabama a total of 19 verbal commitments, as of late June, in respect to the 2015 signing class.
So, what’s so special about Blake Barnett in respect to Alabama’s future?
Although the Crimson Tide have had solid pocket passers during the Saban era, most notably Greg McElroy and AJ McCarron, Barnett brings an extra element of supreme athleticism. If Barnett does indeed sign with Alabama in February, UA will have a quarterback who can turn a busted play into a positive gain, with his legs.
While underwhelming to some, given Alabama’s offensive philosophy, a true quarterback with speed, not a converted running back, will be a different look for the Crimson Tide. From a statistical standpoint, in 2013, during his junior campaign in high school, Barnett rushed for almost 700 yards while scoring 13 touchdowns.
Per Nick Saban, regardless of Barnett’s athleticism, Alabama’s offensive system is still that of a pro-style attack, which utilizes the attributes of a standard pocket passer. However, what Barnett would bring to Alabama, courtesy of his dual-threat ability, would be quite different due to his aforementioned athletic ability.
In full disclosure, who wouldn’t desire to have a quarterback with the ability to escape the pocket and avoid a sack? If Saban can obtain a young man with the arm of a pocket passer, coupled with impressive athleticism, then why should he pass on the opportunity?
Once Alabama begins preseason practice, several young men will engage in an intense battle in order to stake claim to the starting quarterback position for 2014, but, as every good head coach knows, the present never has much of a shelf life. In the revolving door that is collegiate athletics, Blake Barnett is the future, but he’ll also be the past, and that’s why the Crimson Tide are No. 1 in the world of recruiting.
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