Name: Chris Barnett
Location: Hurst, TX
Ratings: ESPN – 3* (78), Scout – 3*, Rivals 4*
Recruitment: Barnett was heavy recruited throughout the year, and was in fact committed to two other schools before selecting Michigan on signing day. He originally gave his verbal to Oklahoma before switching to the Arkansas Razorbacks. The opportunity to play early at Michigan seemed to be a big factor in the decision; especially since Arkansas had three other TE’s in their class already. Barnett was a visitor on the final recruiting weekend of the year, and committed late on NSD whilst Coach Hoke was doing the press conference.
Offers: Michigan, Alabama*, Oklahoma, Miami (Fl), Arkansas, USC, UCLA, TCU, Oklahoma State, Notre Dame, Oregon, Florida State, Stanford and Tennessee amongst others.
*ESPN says no offer from the Tide, scout says he got one, rivals doesn’t list Alabama for him.
Stats: Currently weighs around 245lbs at 6’6. He runs a mid 4.5 forty yard dash. As a senior he had around 300 yards and four TD’s.
ESPN Analysis: Barnett is a kid who as a tight end can present a big target with his long and lean frame. He has good height and while he needs to keep filling out he has plenty of room to add size.
He runs solid routes and is very good at finding the soft spots in zone coverage, settling to get open. He's a tall kid with great reach and good hands; also possessing the leaping ability needed to make him a danger in the red zone. He's not overly elusive with the ball in his hands, but often lowers the shoulder to go through tacklers. As a blocker, his technique needs improvement but generally once he's locked on, he's very hard to beat. Needs to watch his pad level, and we'd like to see him use his lower body strength to drive through blocks. As a pass blocker, he has a solid base and good feet.
Improvements: Blocking technique is the main issue, as he’s already got the size needed for a college Tight End.
Film Highlights: Link here.
Final Thoughts: Michigan needed a tight end badly in this class as Hoke likes to have two on the field quite often, and UM only has two guys on campus right now at the position. He'll likely be behind Brandon Moore and Kevin Koger for a year, but should see the field to get him ready for the 2011 season, where he'll see a lot of time.
The ratings don't really reflect his superb offer list; apart from Rivals’ four stars. He's probably one of the top players in this class, and one of few who will have the chance to see the field early.