TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Alabama coach Nick Saban said Wednesday quarterback Blake Barnett’s status with the program is unclear.
Barnett was not spotted at practice on Wednesday as it was reported that he left the program. A source close to the situation told SEC Country that Barnett already packed up his locker and left the team.
“I know there’s a lot swirling around about Blake Barnett,” Saban said. “He did come and see me today before practice with some concerns about his future. Blake is a fine young man. He’s done a great job in this program. We’d love to see him be a part of the program in the future, but we also want him to do what’s best for him.
“I don’t have a final decision on that. Nobody has told me that. You may know more about it than I do so I can’t make any more comments about it other than that.”
A reporter followed up about whether or not Barnett was currently with the team.
“I don’t know,” Saban said. “We’ll make a statement when we find out for sure.”
Barnett, a redshirt freshman, started Alabama’s opening game vs. USC. He was replaced by true freshman Jalen Hurts after the second series of the USC game. Hurts has started every game since the opener. Barnett has played in three of the four games this season. He’s thrown for 219 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Barnett was a 5-star prospect in Alabama’s 2015 recruiting class. He redshirted his first year on campus.
When players comes to Saban’s office with concerns about their futures, Saban said he listens and tries to understand their point of view.
“I listen really closely about what the concerns are. Look, I understand that everyone wants to play,” Saban said. “I understand that only one guy can play quarterback, although we’ve had a pretty significant competition at that position and both guys have played quite a bit and done good things at times. I try to make them aware of the consequences of the decision that they make and offer some experiences that we have in the past to try to get them to make the best value decision for their future. Sometimes we agree on that and sometimes we don’t, but it’s everybody’s choice to make in terms of what they do.
“I try to do what’s best for our team and our players on it. My focus has to be on the players that are on our team, who are committed to our team, who are going to work to help this team to be good and try to get better. The guys that put the team first are the most important thing for us right now in terms of us being a better team.”
Nick Saban's full answer to Blake Barnett reportedly transferring from Alabama. pic.twitter.com/GPvJLAntKG
— Chris Kirschner (@ChrisKirschner) September 28, 2016