BALTIMORE - Six months ago Blake Barnett couldn’t have imagined moving back into the recruiting process.
But a few weeks back the Rivals100 quarterback from Corona, Calif., started having second thoughts on his longstanding Notre Dame commitment. In short, Barnett started to reconsider just about everything.
“That’s when I started to kinda wander my brain I guess you could say,” Barnett said. “At that point is when I kinda realized it just wasn’t there anymore.”
Barnett began moving toward an impending de-commitment in the last week.
First, the 6-foot-4, 193-pound prospect reached out to Notre Dame to advise them of a visit to Oregon, which he took earlier this week. After some deliberation with his parents Barnett then formally de-committed, phoning head coach Brian Kelly to do so.
Talking with Kelly proved a difficult conversation for Barnett, who took it upon himself to talk with Kelly directly.
“I did let the coaches know ahead of time that I was going to visit Oregon,” Barnett said. “They weren’t too happy about it but I’d rather let them know ahead of time instead of doing it behind their back and them finding out later and it end up a lot worse then it did. I approached them and then the whole situation happened.”
Barnett has since flung the recruiting process open while eliminating the Irish completely, canceling a previously planned visit. Oregon is firmly in the mix while others have reached out, some to offer new scholarships.
Rather than dive back in with both feet Barnett plans to put recruiting on hold for a series of camps over the next month, starting with the Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge presented by Under Armour this weekend.
Barnett is starting to recalibrate his criteria for the rest of the process.
“I would say the biggest thing I’m looking for in a school is obviously where I could get on the field fastest,” Barnett said. “A big thing is would I wanna go to that school if I wasn’t playing football, if I would enjoy my four years there and the atmosphere. And then a quality degree that I can use after football.”
Barnett did look back at the quarterback situation at Notre Dame, namely the competition between Everett Golson and Malik Zaire coming out of the spring.
“It did come into consideration,” Barnett said. “Just the fact that no one was named a starter, so it was kinda clustered. It wasn’t as easy to figure out as some other schools were. I think no matter where I go I’ll have to compete. That’s a fact. I’m excited for that wherever that may be.”