Calvin Barnett (Corsicana, Texas/Navarro College) still remembers the 18-year-old recruit out of Tulsa (Okla.) Booker T. Washington who ditched Oklahoma State for Arkansas just before national signing day. He’ll be the first to say that that Barnett, the high school senior, still had a lot to learn.
Fast forward two years later, and Barnett is a 20-year-old junior college sophomore looking to show Oklahoma State followers that he isn’t the same person from high school. Barnett signed with the Cowboys on Wednesday and is expected to be an immediate impact player on the defensive line.
First things first, the 6-foot-2, 290-pound defensive tackle and junior college All-American is looking for a second chance from Cowboys fans who remember his actions as a high school senior. Barnett was committed to Oklahoma State for five months but switched his commitment to Arkansas days before signing day. He signed with the Razorbacks but ended up on the junior college circuit because of academic reasons.
“Even though I went with Arkansas the first time around, it just wasn’t my time to be a Cowboy then,” Barnett said. “I feel like somehow, this is my second chance. I feel like everybody should get at least one second chance.
“We all make mistakes, and we’re only human. I feel it’s OK, as long as you mature and learn something from your mistakes. I feel like I’ve matured.”
Barnett said he’s a much different person from two years ago. He’s more independent and more responsible. He’s taking life more seriously on and off the football field. As an athlete, he has parlayed the change into an opportunity to play for the Big 12 champions and one of the nation’s top programs.
Barnett said he hopes those fans still bitter about his switch two years ago will remember him more by his play in 2012. Recruited by defensive coordinator Bill Young, Barnett is expected to compete for a starting job as a run stopper and a pass rusher. He will bring versatility and power to the Cowboys’ D-line.
Most importantly, Barnett will bring experience to the program – the kind a player directly out of high school can’t offer.
“I’m bringing experience from playing in a college game,” he said. “There’s a difference in an 18-year-old who’s out of high school and a 20-year-old who’s played on a college level. The thing I can get out of them is help with technique and a chance to get stronger and faster. Hopefully, [Oklahoma State] can help me get to the next level.”