Notre Dame QB recruit Blake Barnett shines

South Bend Tribune

Even spare throwing opportunities are turning into MVP awards for Blake Barnett.

On Sunday, Notre Dame’s 2015 quarterback commit took part in the Oakland Nike Football Training Camp with little to gain besides extra work.

He already earned an invite to July’s The Opening and Elite 11 Finals with his Los Angeles Elite 11 performance in January. He has all the exposure he needs with a commitment to Notre Dame and programs like Oregon and Alabama still pushing for him.

But Barnett didn’t want to pass up the opportunity to get better and continue to prove himself worthy of all the acclaim.

"I just wanted to go out there and compete,” Barnett said. “I knew that a lot of the top quarterbacks in Southern California and even Northern California were going to be out there. It's nice to go out there and get some work in and be able to throw with these guys.”

The 6-foot-4, 205-pound Barnett left with camp MVP honors and rave reviews about his play. Greg Biggins, national recruiting analyst for, attended the camp and saw Barnett throw for what he estimates as the eighth or ninth time since the beginning of his junior season. Biggins doesn’t recall seeing Barnett throw better than he did on Sunday.

“The ball comes out of his hand really clean,” Biggins said. “It's a tight ball every time. He has a really live arm. He was throwing deep balls accurately. Everything was just on point from his drops to his accuracy. He owns all the deep throws, the intermediate throws, the short stuff. He was throwing with touch when he needed to. He was really good.”

Biggins remembers Barnett’s throwing motion being long and inconsistent in the past. Now, he says, Barnett has found a consistent release point and improved his motion to be quicker and tighter. And all the improvements shown on Sunday don’t include his ability to make plays on his feet and run by defenders in the open field. In a camp setting, he has to be a pocket-passer.

“You knew he made some strides pretty quickly, but the fact that it's happening even faster than I thought it would it shows how good he's going to be two or three years from now,” Biggins said. “If anyone wants to say he has the highest ceiling of any of the quarterbacks in this year's class, I don't think you can argue with that at all.”

In addition to working on his own game, the camp gave Barnett an opportunity to scout other prospects the Irish are evaluating. One wide receiver in particular, Trent Irwin, worked well in tandem with Barnett. The 6-2, 190-pound prospect from Newhall, Calif., does not hold a Notre Dame offer but received a visit from the coaching staff this spring. Irwin, a four-star prospect, also earned an invite to The Opening.

“He's a stud,” Barnett said. “He's a really good athlete. He runs clean routes and he catches the ball.”

On Monday, Barnett received a bump in his Rival ranking, up nine spots to No. 55 overall in the 2015 class and the No. 5 quarterback. He’s the only Irish commit to make the Rivals Top 100.

More camps await for Barnett this offseason. In June, he’ll travel to Baltimore for the Rivals Five-Star Challenge and South Bend for the Irish Invasion summer camp. In July, he’ll compete in The Opening and Elite 11 Finals. It’s all a part of a process of improvement for Barnett.

"It's great to get coached up by some of the top quarterback coaches from around the nation and getting to meet different ones for the Elite 11 as the process goes on,” Barnett said.

More 2016 offers

Another pair of prospects reported Notre Dame offers last week.

DE/TE Joseph Jackson, 6-4, 229; Miami Gulliver Prep: A four-star prospect, Jackson received an offer from Notre Dame on Tuesday. Jackson also holds offers from Michigan, Ohio State, Florida State and Alabama. 247Sports slates Jackson as the No. 14 strongside defensive end in the 2016 class and No. 238 overall.

DB Deontay Anderson, 6-1, 192; Manvel (Texas) High: A four-star prospect, Anderson received an offer from Notre Dame on Thursday. Auburn, Texas, UCLA and Michigan State also offered Anderson this month. 247Sports slates Anderson as the No. 2 safety in the 2016 class and No. 23 overall.


Twitter: @TJamesNDI

Notre Dame quarterback commit Blake Barnett (THE PRESS-ENTERPRISE)