Former 5-star recruit Blake Barnett transfers to USF, eligible to play immediately
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Former Alabama and Arizona State quarterback Blake Barnett, once a five-star recruit, has transferred to South Florida, where he’ll be immediately eligible to play with two seasons remaining.
USF announced the addition of Barnett on Friday. He is expected to compete for a starting job as the Bulls try to replace three-year starter Quinton Flowers, who set numerous school records at USF and signed a free-agent contract with the Cincinnati Bengals.
Barnett was the most highly rated quarterback to recruit to sign with Nick Saban at Alabama when he joined the Crimson Tide in 2015. He was in the mix to play as a freshman, but health issues set him back and he ended up sitting out as a redshirt as Alabama won a national championship.
Barnett started the 2016 season-opener for the Crimson Tide, but quickly relinquished the job to Jalen Hurts. Soon after he left Alabama during the season and enrolled in junior college for the rest of the year, which put him in position to transfer and play in 2017 instead of sitting out the whole season as required by NCAA rules. He was initially supposed to miss the first four games of 2017, but the NCAA granted him a waiver and he was eligible to play the whole season for the Sun Devils.
But he was unable to beat out Manny Wilkins, who started for much of the 2016 season for Arizona State, and served as a backup for Arizona State in 2017. He graduated this spring, making him eligible to transfer again and not sit out.
In seven games at Alabama and Arizona State, Barnett has completed 14 of 24 passes for 259 yards and two touchdowns with an interception. Having played only two seasons, he still has two years of eligibility left.
At USF, Barnett will compete with junior Brett Kean and sophomore Chris Oladokun to start this season. Neither of the incumbents has started a college game and they played sparingly behind Flowers the last two seasons.