Jan 7, 2014, 8:36 PM EDT
Notre Dame’s 2015 recruit Blake Barnett was the first quarterback selected to the Elite 11 camp, the premiere offseason camp in the country.
Barnett, who committed to the Irish this fall and will join a depth chart that should include a fifth-year Everett Golson, a junior year Malik Zaire, and sophomore Deshone Kizer. The Orange County native punched his ticket at the first Elite 11 regional camp in Santa Monica, an event that featured five-star Alabama commit Ricky Town and Josh Rosen, the No. 1 ranked QB in the 2015 class. (Rosen didn’t compete due to injury.)
Barnett caught up with Irish Illustrated ($) to talk about the camp and what the invitation means to him.
“I’m very excited,” Barnett told Irish Illustrated. “I know I’ll get to compete with all the good quarterbacks. That’s mostly what I’m excited about because I know the top level of athletes, not just quarterbacks but receivers and (defensive backs), will be out there and I’ll get to compete with them.”
Barnett is an early Top 100 recruit in the 2015 class, a group that’s still in the middle of the evaluation process. But after seeing recent Irish commits Barnett, Zaire, and Gunner Kiel at recent Elite 11 camps, I caught up with instructor Elite 11 instructor Yogi Roth to discuss Notre Dame’s most recent quarterback commitment.
Roth played college football at Pitt, was the quarterback coach at USC under Pete Carroll, and has worked Elite 11 the past few years in between calling football games for the Pac-12 Network. He was really impressed with the athleticism Barnett brings to the table, and has a great frame of reference after seeing just about every elite QB in the country the past few years.
“He’s totally different than past Notre Dame Elite 11 QBs,” Roth told me. “A combination of the size and arm of Gunner and the athletic blend of Malik.”
That type of quote is one that should raise some eyebrows, with Irish fans likely salivating at that skill set. While far from a finished product, Roth called Barnett the perfect blend of a new-age QB, who played the game at a different speed than the other quarterbacks they’ve seen in this class.
That Barnett was the first quarterback to punch his Elite 11 ticket certainly means something to Roth and the staff.
“This is a huge invite. He will set the tempo for the rest of the evaluation, as well as have a giant bullseye on his back when we arrive on the Nike campus for finals,” Roth said.
There’s work to do for Barnett in these offseason months. Roth said Barnett didn’t necessarily throw the ball exceptionally, and the “lonely work” that he puts in this offseason will determine the type of player he can become. But if he can polish his work as a passer and understand the science of quarterbacking and what defenses are trying to achieve, he’s got the opportunity to be a great one.
“I’d expect their staff to be salivating over the opportunity to develop him and get him to play where he can maximize his potential,” Roth said.