Richard Davenport has been a recruiting columnist for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette since 2007.
Barnett's athleticism sets him apart
Jalin Barnett, the nation's No. 1 rated offensive guard, is a major recruit for the Hogs.
ESPN rates Jalin Barnett the nation’s top offensive guard prospect in the nation for good reason.
Barnett, 6-31/3, 305 pounds of Lawton, Okla. has more than 50 scholarship offers, including Arkansas, Alabama, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Auburn, Stanford and Tennessee. Video highlights CLICK HERE
He plans to visit the Hogs June 13. Lawton Coach Randy Breeze said Barnett’s mobility sets him apart from other linemen.
“We run the outside play, the stretch,” Breeze said. “It’s our base play, we’re going to sideline to sideline. You wouldn’t think a big 300 pound tackle could get there, but he can seal that play when the play is on his side.”
Barnett is bad news for linebackers and defensive backs when pulling.
“He looks like he’s at 190 pounds when he turns that corner and goes up field,” Breeze said.
Breeze said Barnett and teammate are a dynamic duo.
“Our guard is 6-2, 308 so we’re going to pull that right guard and Jalin back the other way on a misdirection play,” Breeze said. “It’s one of the prettiest plays you’ll ever want to see. Six hundred pounds of beef blowing up the left side when they think we’re going right.”
Arkansas offensive line coach Sam Pittman visited the school twice during the spring evaluation period. Barnett has taken a liking to Pittman.
“He told me how great the O-line was and he was a good coach and how he could develop me,” said Barnett, who also has plans to visit Tennessee. “He said he loves me. I can tell we have a good relationship.”
Barnett, who has a 350 pound bench press and 480 squat, had a great spring, said Breeze.
“He’s a very, very intelligent man,” Breeze said. “He doesn’t want to make an early commitment. He wants to visit schools over the summer and make some official visits and see what’s out there and Arkansas is definitely one of the schools he wants to see.”
Barnett lost 20 pounds over the last month or so.
“It was all on his own,” Breeze said. “We didn’t hint around or anything. He was carrying 320 well, Now he’s at 305 he’s even running better. He’s dominating so well in the spring we’re probably going to have to play him a little at defensive tackle too. He’s in good enough shape that won’t be a problem.”
Off the field, Barnett excels in the classroom with a 3.8 grade point average.
“He’s a very respectful and humble young man,” Breeze said.