Scout.com Analyst Brandon Huffman on BarnettIt's a loaded crop out West in 2015 at quarterback, with the top two quarterbacks in the country both playing in the same region as Barnett. Barnett, as he continues to grow as a quarterback, could move up the rankings and be a top 10-15 guy when it's all said and done, especially if he makes a big jump in the offseason. His strengths are his mobility and athleticism, especially given his size. He just needs to improve his release, it's still a bit long, and his decision making, he threw a lot of interceptions this year.
But a lot of that is just being that he's still somewhat inexperienced. He's got a high ceiling. The competition he plays against is as good as any in the West. In fact, his league is generally considered the third best league in Southern California and one of the top five leagues in the state of California. And Santiago always plays one of the most challenging schedules of any team in California in the non-league portion, so he's going against elite teams and defenses weekly.
Recruiting recapAfter playing a backup role as a sophomore, he was still able to garner attention on the recruiting trail. His first offer came from UCLA in the beginning of October of his junior season. Following the Bruins came offers from Arizona, California, Colorado, Duke, Notre Dame, Ole Miss and West Virginia. Barnett visited Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Notre Dame and Northwestern in October. He was also hearing frequently from Michigan, Missouri and USC at the time of his commitment to Notre Dame. According to Blake's father, Lance Barnett, Blake knew that he wanted to commit to Notre Dame just a week after his first visit to the Irish in October. Shortly after, he dwindled his list down to an undisclosed top four or five, and then furthered his elimination until he had a top two. Barnett scheduled a return trip to Notre Dame just a month after his first visit to South Bend, and he told Scout.com national recruiting analyst Greg Biggins prior to his return trip that he planned on committing to the Irish in person during his visit. Also according to Lance Barnett, Blake and his parents were in Brian Kelly's office last Sunday, the day after the win over BYU, and after speaking for about 45 minutes, Kelly asked Barnett when he thought he'd be ready to finalize a decision. Blake told Kelly, "Coach, I've made up my mind already. I'm committing to Notre Dame."
Quotables"He grew up racing motorcycles at age six. Then, I kind of realized he had too much talent for that. At age eight, he started playing football and hated it after his first year. He was playing defensive end. I told him not to let one year ruin the sport for him. At age nine, he started playing quarterback and loved it." – Lance Barnett, Blake's father "I was drilling him the past three weeks. Just making sure he was really thinking about his decision and making sure he didn't want to visit anywhere else. He is so confident in his decision. I think as Notre Dame fans get to know Blake as a person, not just as a football player, they'll see why it's such a perfect fit. I still have to pinch myself that he's going to Notre Dame." - Lance "You know, after he committed to Notre Dame, I think he picked up something like 500 followers on Twitter in less than two hours" – Lance "To get this offer is really amazing, especially from a school as good as Notre Dame. I came out here not really expecting an offer, so this came as a surprise." - Blake, in October "It just felt right for me at Notre Dame. I've been to a couple of schools but Notre Dame felt like the best fit for me. After talking with the coaches and just knowing about the program, I knew this was the place where I needed to be." – Blake "I think I'll be plenty occupied being a student and focusing on college ball. I love the tradition of Notre Dame football. Their combination of football, tradition and academics is a powerhouse combination. I know it's early in the process but I thought long and hard about this." – Blake "In an era of new age quarterbacks, I think Blake will set the standard. His combination of size, arm strength and athleticism is off the charts. The greatest thing about him is he runs as an outlet, it's not his primary or even secondary option." – Blake's quarterback coach, Steve Clarkson
Recruiting ImplicationsNotre Dame found itself in somewhat of a time-sensitive predicament when its No. 1 quarterback target in the 2014 class, Kyle Allen, committed to Texas A&M this summer over the Irish. Notre Dame then extended an offer to Toledo (Ohio) Central Catholic quarterback DeShone Kizer in June, who ended up choosing the Irish just a week later over offers from Alabama, LSU and Tennessee, among others. Now, with Notre Dame's signal-caller pledge for 2015 already on the docket in November, Notre Dame will be able to build this cycle's class around the centerpiece of Barnett. Notre Dame has one other commit in the class of 2015, four-star offensive tackle Jerry Tillery of Louisiana. Look for four-star and Scout.com's No. 1 ranked offensive guard in 2015, Tristen Hoge of Utah, to jump on board before the calendar year's end. 2014 Quarterback Depth Chart: -- 5th year Senior Andrew Hendrix (potentially)
-- Redshirt-junior Everett Golson
-- Redshirt-sophomore Malik Zaire
-- Freshman DeShone Kizer