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Barnett’s gone: What’s next for Notre Dame at quarterback?

Jun 5, 2014, 2:16 AM EDT

247Sports.com 247Sports.com

Blake Barnett made it official Wednesday night, stepping away from his Notre Dame commitment. Via a statement made on Twitter, Barnett said the following:

“I am officially de-committing from the University of Notre Dame and opening up my recruitment. I want to thank the University and the coaching staff for allowing me the opportunity to attend such a prestigious university.”

Reached via text by Jake Brown of Irish Illustrated, Barnett said he was no longer considering Notre Dame, making his commitment to Oregon seemingly inevitable. After committing to the Irish last November, Barnett went from being rock solid to the Irish 48 hours ago to dropping the school completely.

“Notre Dame has stayed recruiting me,” Barnett told Rivals all the way back on June 2. “They stayed on it because they know schools come around especially this time of year when recruiting starts to pick up. They have to be aggressive sometimes, to be honest.”

You can never say never in recruiting. But at this point, expect the Irish to make some quick moves as they reevaluate their quarterback options. After scouring the internet the past 24 hours, let’s walk through some of the other options the Irish staff might consider exploring.

 

Travis Waller
Servite (Anaheim, CA)

Long considered a favorite of Oregon’s, the smart money is pointed to Waller as Notre Dame’s next choice at quarterback with Barnett likely heading to the Ducks. Mike Denbrock and the Irish coaching staff have spent a ton of time at Servite, so they should know Waller.

At 6-foot-3, 190-pounds, Waller has offers from Alabama and more than a few other elite programs, and while he’s a lesser-rated quarterback than Barnett, he’s in the same stratosphere. Expect the Irish to head back to Troy Niklas’ alma mater to check Waller’s interest.

 

Deondre Francois
IMG Academy (Orlando, FL)

Considered by many to be a Florida State lean, BlueandGold.com’s Tom Loy tabs Francois as a potential target for the Irish. With offers from the Seminoles, Auburn, Tennessee, Florida, Miami and a whole slew of others, Francois hardly feels like a consolation prize.

At IMG, Francois is working with former Heisman Trophy Winner Chris Weinke, which likely has people thinking that Florida State is a foregone conclusion. But Weinke played his prep football at Cretin-Derham Hall, a school with great connections to Notre Dame, so we’ll see what happens.

 

Brandon Wimbush
St. Peters Prep (Jersey City, NJ)

Wimbush is committed to Penn State, the quarterback of choice for James Franklin’s first full Nittany Lions recruiting class. But there’s a lot of things that are great fits for the Irish and Wimbush, especially the Jesuit-based education, dual-threat skill-set, and the Irish friendly Garden State.

Wimbush literally committed to the Nittany Lions less than a month ago, so it’s hard to tell if this is just a dart thrown against the board. But the Under Armour All-American has an impressive set of offers and would likely listen to the Irish staff, especially considering Christian Hackenberg’s stable place at Penn State.

 

Brady White
Hart High (Santa Clarita, CA)

Catching up with the South Bend Tribune, Tom Lemming tabbed Arizona State target Brady White as a guy that Notre Dame could kick the tires on. While he’s listed as a pro-style quarterback, White’s got the type of mobility Todd Graham likes, and both Graham and Brian Kelly tend to see the same type of virtues in quarterbacks.

White just notched an invite to The Opening and is still alive in the Elite11 competition. He committed to Arizona State in early May, just after landing an Oregon offer. The Sun Devils have a commitment from quarterback Bryce Perkins from local powerhouse Chandler, but Perkins also projects to succeed at either wide receiver or another skill spot if he can’t play quarterback. Who knows what that means, but White could accept an Irish house call.

 

Sheriron Jones
Rancho Verde (Moreno Valley, CA)

Multiple ND-centric sites are saying Jones is on Notre Dame’s radar, so who am I to say that he’s not. At almost 6-3 and with a 4o-yard time dash that’s a reported 4.6, he’s the type of dual-threat guy that on paper makes sense. With offers from Florida, Tennessee, Nebraska and Arizona, he’s got the pedigree  and ability according to other coaches that run a similar style to Notre Dame’s.

It’s crazy to think that after losing out on Barnett, the Irish could throw out offers to 4-5 kids within a 50 mile radius of Barnett. But that gives you an idea of just how important holding your ground in Southern California really is.

 

Somebody Else’s Quarterback

Let’s be serious. There’s no love lost in recruiting. So if the Irish go chase after somebody else’s quarterback, Irish fans will be just fine with it, even though there’s all sorts of grousing about Barnett’s decision to turn his back on South Bend after spending the past eight months pledging his undying support for the Irish.

(That’s recruiting, folks!)

But expect to hear from Matt LaFleur and Mike Denbrock as the Irish work to get as many promising quarterbacks on campus as possible, with the Irish Invasion camp now less about Barnett interacting with other commits, but now about a possible audition for intriguing prospects.

Other names floated by those that cover recruiting more closely than me: Lamar Jackson of Boynton Beach, Florida, current Washington commit Jake Browning, Boise State commit Brett Rypien, Georgia commit Lorenzo Nunez.

(Heck, is Bubba Starling sick of hitting .188 in A ball yet?)

 

Sit This Cycle Out

It might not be a bad idea to sit this recruiting cycle out at quarterback. With a limited class size, the Irish still have Everett Golson for both this year and next, four years of eligibility for Malik Zaire and four years for DeShone Kizer.

Barnett was likely pitched at Oregon the idea of watching Marcus Mariota work his way to the top of the NFL Draft and then compete for the starting job immediately. That’s not the case at ND, where three scholarship quarterbacks are still on the depth chart for Barnett’s freshman year.

Getting a gap in there might not be the worst thing in the world, though Kelly has talked about wanting to take a quarterback every recruiting cycle. That’s mostly to protect for transfers, which is essentially what Barnett’s subtraction weeds out.

This also might be a good time to hit the 2016 prospects hard, doing their best to close rising junior Jacob Eason or fellow SoCal elite signal caller Malik Henry.

 

  1. onward2victory - Jun 5, 2014 at 3:23 AM

    I wonder if Oregon had several bag-men contribute their funds for this one. Sounds to me like they made him an offer he couldn’t refuse. Rock-solid to not even considering ND anymore in less than 48 hrs? More than just potential playing time was a factor here.

    Also why isn’t Kyler Murray on this list?

    • mediocrebob - Jun 5, 2014 at 6:50 AM

      Move on. I can see this is really bothering you but it’s the way it is. Happens all the time. No use in getting so butt-hurt over something so insignificant.

  2. fnc111 - Jun 5, 2014 at 3:50 AM

    That Nike cash was definitely a key after reading through this. After the Vanderdoes ordeal I don’t even follow recruiting much anymore. Seems pointless. The immediate red flag is he was “recruiting” for ND. I swear from the years I followed these pre madonnas the player that always said he was recruiting on ND’s behalf ended up de-committing and going elsewhere.

    • mtflsmitty - Jun 5, 2014 at 12:05 PM

      Jaylon Smith

      • onward2victory - Jun 5, 2014 at 5:24 PM

        Elijah Hood.

  3. James P. Fitzgerald, Jr. - Jun 5, 2014 at 4:12 AM

    Recruiting is recruiting (duh!). If Barnett wants to play his college ball at Oregon (or anywhere), good luck to him. We have Golson and Zaire vying for PT, and Kizer is coming in. We have quality athletes at the QB position with plenty of eligibility. Baring injuries, Barnett would have had to work (and work hard) to get any significant PT any time soon. Every athlete, in every sport wants PT (another duh here!).

  4. goirishgo - Jun 5, 2014 at 7:37 AM

    The kid doesn’t want to go to ND. Better to opt out now than to transfer after a season or two in the program.

  5. machine64red2 - Jun 5, 2014 at 8:35 AM

    Put Oregon on the schedule

    • iamgolden4life - Jun 5, 2014 at 12:52 PM

      Lets Hope that we meet them in the 2015 playoffs, he starts and that slow throwing motion he has gets him sandwiched all game long between Jaylon, and Nyles along with a bevy of others, while laying there hearing the chants ” WeAreND”. GoIRISH!!!!

  6. upthera44 - Jun 5, 2014 at 9:26 AM

    Has the staff given up completely then on Barnett or will they continue recruiting him? Is he still coming to the Irish Invasion?

  7. irishdog80 - Jun 5, 2014 at 9:44 AM

    I’m not worried. With Golson, Zaire and Kizer in the fold, we are good to go for at least the next 2-3 years and maybe even more. Barnett listening to Oregon’s siren song of “play as a freshman, you are the next Mariota” worked. Probably didn’t help that we offered ND legacy Eason right before his visit to Oregon.

    If I had a choice between having Barnett and losing Eason or Eason over Barnett, I would take the Eason option. ND Legacy, top rated QB in his class and the opportunity to give a little breathing room…maybe guys won’t be as inclined to transfer if they know they have a solid shot of seeing the field…in the depth chart. Who knows, Kizer could be the best of the bunch.

    • danirish - Jun 5, 2014 at 11:57 AM

      Good post. I like Kizer, I just have a feeling he actually might be a perfect fit.

      As for Barnett, good for him he’s going to … Oregon! Good luck getting into the NFL!

      I want Linemen! O and D! Those are the recruits I cry over!

      GO IRISH!

    • irishdog80 - Jun 5, 2014 at 2:12 PM

      I like Kizer, in part, because he is a developmental project…he needs to bulk up a bit while adding some speed…and will likely be content to learn behind Golson and Zaire. Nothing wrong with that, Kevin McDougal did alright back in the day.

      In 2015, we need at least a developmental QB with high upside and the potential to be multi-positional if QB does not work out. If Eason is the real deal, a clear path to starting in his year 2 or 3 would be ideal.

  8. irishwilliamsport - Jun 5, 2014 at 9:47 AM

    Sounds like he’s from the Anzalone, Keil, Vanderdoes and Lynch molds where it’s all about them. How can you be recruiting for your school one week and drop them that fast the next week ? The great players will come and compete no matter who is in front of them. Good luck to him and it’s next recruit in.

    • mtflsmitty - Jun 5, 2014 at 12:09 PM

      So are the flips that go ND’s way also self-centered, “all about them” teen narcissists? Do you really want those guys playing at ND?

  9. irishwilliamsport - Jun 5, 2014 at 9:55 AM

    I was thinking maybe we didn’t have to get another QB in this class but what if Golson wins the QB position and Zaire decides to transfer rather that sit on the bench for two years while ND recruits a 4 or 5 star QB every year. If Golson starts then Zaire would be a junior when the position opens up and there would be no guarantee the job would be his and he would be competing with a redshirt sophomore and freshman and an incoming freshman. We really have to get a QB in this class.

    • danirish - Jun 5, 2014 at 11:58 AM

      Kizer

      • irishwilliamsport - Jun 5, 2014 at 12:48 PM

        Yeah but what if Zaire leaves and Golson gets hurt leaving Kizer alone to play QB and no back up ?

  10. irishaggie - Jun 5, 2014 at 11:13 AM

    I don’t think this is a big deal at all. It’s unfortunate to see guys like Ronald Darby, Eddie Vanderdoes, and Barnett decommit but there are lots of other players we also pick up that have decommitted elsewhere such as Greg Bryant. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say at least one more will decommit (okay maybe that’s not so bold, just common sense).

  11. chaunce922 - Jun 5, 2014 at 11:43 AM

    Yea, in the grand scheme it wont be a major hit but its still kinda lame that he decommitted. I think we’ll be fine with who we have atm, plus with all the running backs id rather us lean on the run game more anyway..

    Theres always next year…

    • danirish - Jun 5, 2014 at 12:07 PM

      The big issue is the “I’m a Notre Dame man” for a few months and then bam! 48 hours and going to another school.

      I sometimes think that maybe these kids commit (they are kids) to see who really wants them, end the recruiting madness, or stroke their own egos – who knows.

      I don’t worry about it until signing day – that is when they sign a contract and it is binding! Oh wait, forgot about Vanderdoes….

      • chaunce922 - Jun 5, 2014 at 12:54 PM

        Yea more so in recent years has it been more noticeable with major decommits (usually late in the process too)

        Its forsure posturing on the recruit’s end, Notre Dame is used as a stepping stool for alot of commits. Like when Notre Dame pens an offer to some unknown 2 or 3 star kid then 2 weeks later Rivals updates their rankings and magically the guy Notre Dame found is now rocking a fresh new upgrade into the top 250 or w,e and a 4star stamp.

        Barnett was already touted up there with the best this year so that dont really fit but its still noteworthy. With him going to Oregon (for the time being) that puts him in the position to sit behind a first round pick for a year before starting so he clearly picked the better situation for himself so i cant feel bad about it, its not like he committed to Penn State or someone like that with a young QB he knows hes not quite ready to beat out yet..

  12. nudeman - Jun 5, 2014 at 11:59 AM

    Always amazed at the raw sewage fans spew when ND has a de-commit. “He used ND”. “The bag man met him at the airport in Eugene”. “Kid has no heart”.

    That is total BS. Here’s why he de-committed:

    1) He’s 17. He made a life decision when he was 16. There is an inverse relationship between a person’s age/how early in the cycle he “commits” and the chance he’ll freak out and change his mind.

    2) ND has 3 QBs with a total of 10 years of eligibility in front of him. Oregon has one guy who will be gone after this year.

    Did the bag man meet Redfield and Bryant at the SB airport?
    Did Redfield use USC? Did Bryant use OK?

    I think I’ve learned the last couple years that if it ain’t NSD, there’s no reason to get excited about what a 17-18 year old kid says. Barnett by all accounts comes from a decent background and is a good kid, even if he doesn’t come to ND.

    Only remaining question for me is this: It is odd that he also said he’s not even considering ND any further. This leads me to believe that something might have happened between Barnett and the coaches. Did they let him know they were pissed off at his looking around?

    Last point: This has minimal effect on ND going forward. A shade above irrelevant.

    • bernhtp - Jun 5, 2014 at 12:53 PM

      Agreed on all points and I have the same question regarding “.. something might have happened between Barnett and the coaches.” The time span between “I’m an ND man” and “I’m no longer considering ND” is a non-floating point number of nanoseconds, which raises obvious questions.

    • danirish - Jun 5, 2014 at 1:19 PM

      I teach this age group and know how “wishy-washy” they can be. Like you said they are kids. While my school is no where near a football powerhouse*, we have some great baseball players. We had a kid get recruited early and often (cannon arm!) and he finally committed to get recruiters to leave him alone. He actually figured that if he committed that was that. Poor kid was wrong and was hounded 10 times worse by a few schools. I’ve never seen such relief on a kid when signing day came.
      Same year we had a baseball kid commit, de-commit, commit, de-commit, because of the attention – it makes headlines.
      Heck, if I were a kid this popular I don’t know how I would be! i agree that this is not as big of a story as made.

      *I teach at the school down the street from Charlotte Catholic, you know that school that had Elijah Hood, the bag man met him in Chapel Hill! Just kidding – he is a good kid that wanted to stay closer to home. I’m glad to see him go b/c I tire of him running through our defense.

    • irishdog80 - Jun 5, 2014 at 2:29 PM

      I am not the least bit concerned about Barnett. ND offers Eason, Barnett visits Oregon, Oregon tells him he is the next Mariota, Barnett tells ND, ND says you have to beat out Golson, Zaire and Kizer, Barnett looks at the landscape and de-commits. No big surprise. Every kid at Barnett’s level think they will be the #1 pick in the draft someday and want it sooner than later. At ND, it would be later for Barnett. I can almost hear the Oregon staff laughing about the 4 year commitment at ND…”Hey, you don’t need an ND education to make millions in the NFL like you are going to make. Better sooner than later, you could get hurt.”

      The sad thing is that for every Mariota that breaks out and potentially becomes the NFL #1 pick, there are dozens/hundreds that fall way short. The smart choice, if you are playing the odds, is the 40 year choice at ND. The other factor that gets underrated about playing at ND is the publicity factor. If you are a break out athlete at ND, an SI cover and ESPN Top 10 regular are in your future plus the NBC PR machine. More money is made off the field by big time athletes than on.

      • nudeman - Jun 5, 2014 at 2:52 PM

        My problem with that 40 year stuff is this: If a kid has his head on straight and wants to get his degree he can get a very good degree at Oregon, USC, Alabama, tOSU, etc etc There was a kid from Florida State a few years ago who put off his NFL career in favor of a Rhodes Scholarship.

        It’s the clowns who want to major in Gym who go to college thinking they’ll be the #1 pick who give so many other schools an undeserved bad rep. But their Administrations are guilty for permitting that.

        Is it as prestigious as a degree from ND? Probably not. But so what?
        If a kid applies himself in the classroom he’ll be fine wherever he goes.

      • irishdog80 - Jun 5, 2014 at 3:19 PM

        I agree. I have plenty of neighbors and friends that did not go to ND and have done very well for themselves. It is all about how hard you work and use the talents you have. The only difference is that the percentage of grads from ND that go on to have some success is higher than your average state school student…if they even graduate. I would love to see a study that tracks NCAA D1 athletes after they graduate…or don’t graduate, as the case may be…and how successful they are. My bet is that ND would be at the top or near both in average and median.

    • irishwilliamsport - Jun 5, 2014 at 2:53 PM

      I was thinking the same thing that maybe there was friction with the coaches to drop ND that fast. Who knows.

      The thing I’m concerned about is if Golson is the starter and Zaire decides to transfer. That would leave us with 2 QB’s and what if Golson gets hurt leaving Kizer the starter without a backup.

    • 4horsemenrideagain - Jun 5, 2014 at 4:29 PM

      a kid officially committed to a school is going to keep repeating the mantra “i’m all in” until he decommitts, whether or not there is friction. it’s just not possible to say “yeah i’m still committed, but the coaches are sort of sweating me about redshirting and that sounds lousy to me…”

      I always wonder at what point a coach says to a kid “if you’re still looking, than so are we” except that once that offer is made, how does a coach pull it if a kid continues to visit other schools and talk to other coaches?

      as for Barnett, the one thing that remains a mystery is why it took Oregon so long to offer him. if they loved him up and down, why didn’t they love him back when he was a 3 star. did the last 3-4 months really do that much to change their assessment of him? same goes for Barnett. if Oregon was his dream school, did he really need to wait to visit and get the royal recruit treatment to be sold on oregon as the right school for him? I don’t have any insights or theories here. just curiosity. especially about why ND has been crossed off his list.

  13. mtflsmitty - Jun 5, 2014 at 12:14 PM

    Surprised we haven’t heard much from the “MZ Should Have Played in ’13” crowd on this story. Guess that redshirt he wore last year is looking better and better.

  14. njnapa - Jun 5, 2014 at 12:29 PM

    Definitely a crusher, but much better to know now rather than in January. I would add a QB for this class. I’d check on Lock, Waller and Morgan yesterday.

    • nudeman - Jun 5, 2014 at 2:26 PM

      Not a crusher at all.

  15. njnapa - Jun 5, 2014 at 12:32 PM

    Still think Zaire should have played last year.

  16. danirish - Jun 5, 2014 at 1:20 PM

    Win some and you lose some.

    GO IRISH!

  17. 76michael - Jun 5, 2014 at 2:30 PM

    Considering recruiting over two years, here are the major teams (11) who do not have a QB in 2015 and their QB’s last year’s commitment ranking (247):

    Alabama (#3 Pro); Notre Dame (#10 Dual), Arizona (#20 Dual), Florida (#4 Pro), Tenn (none), LSU (#3 Dual),
    Georgia (#7 Pro), Ore (#5 Dual), Okla (3# Dual), Stanford (#2 Dual), Baylor (none)

    Assuming Ore gets their commitment, it looks like Georgia, Okla, Stanford will skip QBs this year and Baylor has no QB offers out. That leaves only the top group of six looking at the remaining top prospects.

    LSU will skip if they do not get Torrance Gibson (not on ND’s radar). Tenn is one of Gibson’s favorites, who also have another (non-ND) target ranking them high. Fla is focusing on Gibson, Francois, or Sheriron Jones. That leaves Ala, ND, Arizona as the best remaining choices for top QBs.

    I’ll throw in Ohio State, who do have a QB commitment (#10 Dual). Ohio St has an offer out to Gibson.

    Arizona has targeted, as mentioned, on Sheriron Jones. Should Francois, Jones, Jackson and Gibson remain in the South at one of the SEC schools or FSU or Arizona, that leaves ND focusing on Waller. Assuming Waller eliminates Oregon with a Barnett commitment, he may well target the remaining teams Ala, ND, or, possibly, Ohio State.

    So, unless Arizona loses Jones and offers Waller, Waller’s recruitment could come down to ND (with an offer) or Alabama, which has offered. Kiffin just visited Waller, but Ala has the #3 Pro QB (Cornwell) from 2014. Turning Wimbush (or someone else) is a possibility.

    • onward2victory - Jun 5, 2014 at 9:45 PM

      Nice work 76. Do you think the Irish have a chance at flipping Kyler Murray since he’ll have to wait for Kyle Allen to get hurt or go to the NFL?

  18. thefightinfloyds - Jun 5, 2014 at 7:45 PM

    Meh whatever… Someone said it in an earlier post but after the drama of the last few recruiting cycles Ive learned to only care about the players that are enrolled and playing for the Irish. Getting caught up in the endless flip flopping of recruiting does nothing but raise my blood pressure. Good luck to this kid and all but wake me up when the season starts.

  19. jucam1 - Jun 6, 2014 at 6:17 AM

    I mentioned this in the last post, these people here at Oregon (where I am for work for a few months) don’t mess around!.. They were saying that they now wanted the kid and ND was just a minor hurdle and they weren’t kidding. How does this stuff work?.. There has to be money involved or other incentives right? I mean I know you big schools all do it, I’m positive ND does the sane, but how do you get around the investigations?… I have no horse in this race, I went to a D II school, but got my masters at D I but had little time to get all in to Northwestern athletics (and their not that good). Any way would love to understand. The OU people that I know here in Eugene say that the sales pitch to the kid was to explain that ND is a has been power and doesn’t have the ability to win a tittle anymore. I don’t believe that though, I mean ND doesn’t win anything in football but the prestige and TV deal alone is huge.

    • mediocrebob - Jun 6, 2014 at 6:56 AM

      Just to clear this up…you have a masters right?

      • lambda02750 - Jun 6, 2014 at 9:30 AM

        I wouldn’t have been able to tell by looking at the bevy of grammatical errors. :) I do wonder some of the same things though.

    • bernhtp - Jun 6, 2014 at 7:21 AM

      re: “I mean ND doesn’t win anything in football”

      ND went 12-0 and in the NC game less than a year and a half ago. We were an “academic misjudgment” away from being in BCS bowl territory despite a rash of injuries.

      The ND football program is on an upward trajectory. Those that say that ND is a “has been power” aren’t paying attention.

    • ibleedirish - Jun 6, 2014 at 8:58 AM

      If it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it may just be a….troll

  20. papadec - Jun 6, 2014 at 3:55 PM

    Maybe the kid just likes NIKE better than UA, and staying on the west coast, and playing in the same time zone he’s used to. If he thinks he will have an easier road to the NFL with the Oregon schedule – he’s in for a big surprise. UW, WSU & OSU are on the rise & Stanford is still Stanford. He’ll have to get past them & some of the down south PAC-12 teams every year. As far as flipping from ND – I’m glad it happened now, to give the ND coaching staff more time to fill the spot. So, thanks for that.

  21. chaunce922 - Jun 7, 2014 at 12:09 AM

    Welp Jarrett Stidham, balls in your court now..

    You got an offer what you going to do with it?

    (Stidham basically a Barnett V.2 if you havent seen him)

  22. 1historian - Jun 7, 2014 at 1:45 PM

    2014-2015 Golson.

    2016-2017 Zaire or Kizer

    The kid was looking at at LEAST 3 years on the sidelines. I don’t blame him.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if Kelly skips a year and has 4 this season – Golson, Zaire, Kizer red-shirt and a [preferred walk on.

  23. rcali - Jun 9, 2014 at 10:52 PM

    Oregon paid more folks. That’s all. No worries. Chances of getting an NFL job are so small I can’t blame these guys for going where they can get the most money and gifts for their families.

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