Wednesday No. 8 was missing during media availability at Alabama football practice. On Thursday head coach Nick Saban confirmed that redshirt freshman quarterback Blake Barnett is transferring.
“We received word this afternoon that Blake Barnett has officially withdrawn from school and is no longer with our program,” Saban said in a press release. “The quarterback position is a very unique position where only one player can play. We are very disappointed any time a player leaves the program who feels he can compete for a starting position elsewhere, rather than here at Alabama. We wish Blake the very best of luck in the future.”
Barnett began the season as the starting quarterback for the Crimson Tide. He split time with true freshman Jalen Hurts most of the season and eventually lost the quarterback battle, as Hurts played the entire game against Ole Miss. Barnett was 11-19 passing for 219 yards and two touchdowns.
Barnett was a former five-star recruit out of California. He was praised as a dual-threat quarterback who had skills in both the passing and running game. His senior season he threw for 3,404 yards and 23 touchdowns. He also carried the ball for 479 yards and seven touchdowns.
Barnett will not be the first quarterback to transfer under Saban. Recently Alec Morris, Phillip Ely and Phillip Sims went on to transfer and do well. Saban has had the conversation many times before Barnett entered the office Wednesday.
“I listen really closely about what the concerns are. Look, I understand that everyone wants to play. I understand that only one guy can play quarterback,” Saban said. “I try to make them aware of the consequences of the decision that they make and offer some experiences that we have in the past to try to get them to make the best value decision for their future. Sometimes we agree on that and sometimes we don’t, but it’s everybody’s choice to make in terms of what they do.”
Saban knows transfers can become a distraction, and he is in control of the No. 1 team in the nation right now. For him, Barnett’s decision to transfer cannot affect the team negatively.
“I try to do what’s best for our team and our players on it. My focus has to be on the players that are on our team, who are committed to our team, who are going to work to help this team to be good and try to get better,” Saban said. “The guys that put the team first are the most important thing for us right now”
Source:: The Crimson White Sports