Just more than month after announcing his intentions to transfer from the Alabama program, Blake Barnett’s first official recruiting visit has been revealed.
The former 5-star recruit, beat out by Jalen Hurts for the starting role with the Crimson Tide, will head to Eugene, Ore., for the Oregon Ducks’ Pac-12 showdown against the Stanford Cardinal on Nov. 12, 247Sports reports.
While this will be Barnett’s first official visit, he has explored other schools in the weeks prior, 247Sports reports, including an unofficial visit to Arizona State two weeks ago. Cal, Washington State and Michigan State have also shown interest, according to 247Sports.
Oregon, since losing Marcus Mariota, has relied on transfer quarterbacks the last two seasons. Vernon Adams in 2015, and Dakota Prukop this year. Neither, of course, has replicated the record-breaking success Mariota had under Chip Kelly. Now under the Mark Helfrich regime, the program has taken a nosedive to a 3-5 record this season, with Prukop’s starting job being usurped by Justin Herbert, a freshman who has thrown 12 TDs to just two INTs and nearly 1,000 yards in the four games since taking over.
Barnett saw action in three of Alabama’s games this season before deciding to transfer from the program. He tossed a pair of touchdowns while throwing for 219 yards, mostly in mop-up duty.
Oregon, seemingly, would be a good fit for Barnett. Its spread offense could be welded around the less-mobile Barnett. But there remains the roadblock of Herbert’s initial success. That, too, of Helfrich’s less-than-stable job security, leading the Ducks to a 12-9 record over the last two seasons, following a pair of 11- and 13-win campaigns with Mariota still under center (or, mostly, in shotgun) and many of Kelly’s players still in tow.
Because of a bylaw exploited by Barnett in the NCAA transfer rules, wherever he chooses to take his talents, he could be eligible by the fourth week of next season. According to 247, Barnett is currently enrolled at Palomar (San Marcos, Calif.) Junior College and on track to graduate in the spring but isn’t playing football there.