When it came to summer camps, the plan was simple for Class of 2015 offensive lineman Jalin Barnett (Lawton, Okla./Lawton).
He wasn’t going to go to any of them. There might have been a few schools he wanted to see, but he was going to save money and stay home.
Oklahoma, however, is different. Barnett made his first unofficial visit to OU in April and picked up an offer shortly after his trip. He returned the following week for the spring game and one more time for OU’s camp in June. As of now, it remains the only camp Barnett has attended during this mega-crazy camp season.
In other words, OU has a three-visit advantage on the rest of the field right now. And with the release of the ESPN 300 for the 2015 class on Tuesday, it might be a good thing. Barnett, who is listed at 6-foot-4 and 285 pounds, is ranked No. 8 in the ESPN 300 and No. 1 in the region.
“A ranking like that doesn’t surprise me at all,” Lawton coach Randy Breeze said. “He has worked so hard. He’s getting all this attention, but he is handling it so well.”
Schools such as Oregon State and Texas Tech also doled out early offers, but some more big boys have joined the party the last couple of weeks. Breeze said Stanford and Auburn are the latest school to offer.
Barnett grew up an Oklahoma State fan, but it has been all about the crimson and cream lately. And one OU coach in particular.
“I have a great relationship with Coach [Bill] Bedenbaugh,” Barnett said. “I liked going to the camp a lot. It was very important in the long run to get that coaching from him.”
Since arriving at OU from West Virginia in February, Bedenbaugh has made a huge impact with top offensive line prospects.
Both of OU’s 2015 commitments, ESPN 300 members offensive guard Josh Wariboko (Oklahoma City/Casady, No. 88) and offensive tackle Bobby Evans (Allen, Texas/Allen, No. 210), have been recruited by Bedenbaugh.
Barnett could be next, but it won’t happen just yet. There’s pressure, though, from his family to attend OU.
“My brother really wants me to go,” Barnett said. “I’m definitely still waiting, though. I don’t even know what I’m looking for in a school at this point.”
Breeze agrees with that last point. Breeze said he thought Barnett was a shoo-in to stay in the state. Barnett’s grandfather is a very pro-OU guy, but Breeze said the Stanford offer has given Barnett a different set of options.
“Coaches from Stanford and Michigan don’t come to Oklahoma too often, and they definitely don’t come to Lawton,” Breeze said. “The Stanford offer means a lot because it shows how important education is. Grades are very important to Jalin.”
Right now the only thing that’s important to Barnett is getting ready for his junior season and helping Lawton get back to the state playoffs.
Barnett said his plan isn’t to make many unofficial visits during the season. He wants to focus on his season and continually improving.
But ask Breeze, and he said there isn’t much for Barnett to work on. There’s always room for improvement, Breeze said, but Barnett is becoming more and more polished.
“I don’t know what kind of weakness he has right now,” Breeze said. “Like I told one coach last week –- there are no skeletons in this closet. He’s a great kid. He’s got great feet, can backpedal well. There’s nothing he can’t do.”