Previously: Last year's profiles. S Sammy Faustin, S German Green, CB Gemon Green, CB Vincent Gray, CB Myles "Spider" Sims, LB Cameron McGrone, DE Taylor Upshaw, DE Julius Welschof, DE Aidan Hutchinson, OL Jalen Mayfield, OL Ryan Hayes, TE Luke Schoonmaker, TE Mustapha Muhammad, WR Ronnie Bell.
|Valdosta, GA— 6'0", 224|
|24/7||3*, #873 overall
#70 ATH, #90 GA
|Rivals||3*, 5.6 rating
|ESPN||3*, 78 rating
#49 ATH, #64 GA
|Composite||3*, #753 overall
#61 ATH, #72 GA
|Other Suitors||GT, Neb, FSU, MSU, Tenn|
|Previously On MGoBlog||Hello post from Ace.|
|Notes||M also recruited teammate Jalen Goss.|
Michael Barrett is the kind of football player who gives serious thought to being a Georgia Tech quarterback. If that doesn't immediately paint a picture, you don't watch enough college football. Barrett is a high school quarterback who's an odd fit for most college teams because he's generously listed at 6-foot, shaped like a barrel, and mean as all git out. He makes perfect sense for Georgia Tech and a newly Scott-Frost-infused Nebraska. For everyone else, he takes some figuring out.
There's no better proof of this than the title of a Rivals post shortly after his commitment: "Analyst: Michael Barrett Is A Football Player." Inside we find out that Barrett is a "football player first and foremost" and "could be used in many ways." Indeed. Jim Harbaugh's initial take was more specific, and also strange:
"“Envision him getting the ball in his hands. Wide receiver, slot receiver, running back – those two areas, primarily, for him. Spent time with Anquan Boldin, who was also a high school quarterback, and I think some quarterback in college and eventually wide receiver. Somebody who can get the ball and make yards after the catch or yards after contact. A receiver who can run like a running back and I think will also have the ability to be a running back.”
Anquan Boldin showed up at the NFL combine as a 6'1", 214 pound receiver. Barrett's a couple inches shorter and already ten pounds heavier. So maybe not.
Running back? Yeah, that makes sense. He's running back shaped. As of January, Barrett said he was "mainly RB" at Michigan but would get his shot at QB, and during his recruitment it appeared that most of the school pursuing him were doing so there. Tennessee was comparing him to Alvin Kamara, a 5'10, 215-pound ball-of-knives kind of tailback, and that's a pretty good shout.
Quarterback? Probably not, but it's not out of the realm of possibility that he's a useful option in short yardage and the redzone. His highlights above... I mean, he could definitely play QB for Rich Rod. His stats are... uh... significantly better than Joe Milton's:
Barrett has been terrific under center over the last two seasons completing 63 percent of his passes for 1,705 yards and 16 touchdowns to just two interceptions with another 1,195 yards rushing and 13 scores. As a junior he emerged as a name to know with a 62-percent completion rate and 2,753 yards passing and 27 touchdowns to just six interceptions. He also gained 1,283 yards and scored 21 more times.
And then there's defense. Barrett recently tweeted that he's playing both ways, and his dad told 24/7 that "first he's going to have special packages at quarterback and then they want to use him at the viper position." And he might be too big for viper already? Maybe? I don't know. When Florida State started poking around their 24/7 analysts said Willie Taggart liked Barrett as an offensive weapon... and a middle linebacker, where he played as an underclassman. (There are also scattered LB snaps in his junior highlight reel above.)
Let's just go with Ace's theory: "thicc Curtis Samuel."
[After THE JUMP: scanty scouting and Lorenz banging the table]
The positional uncertainty probably has a little something to do with the fact that the 7A player of the year in a quality region of Georgia was somewhat lightly recruited. Aside from the folks looking for an option quarterback, schools interested included West Virginia, Tennessee, and MSU, with Florida State inviting him to campus late in the cycle but not pulling the trigger on an offer. Probably. The 24/7 guys say they didn't; Barrett's dad said they did.
Another factor was Barrett's lack of camp exposure. 24/7 included him in a couple of "camp preview" articles as a projected attendee but he was not mentioned at all in the aftermath of the two big Atlanta camps. Whether that's because he was playing QB and he's not the kind of guy to catch the eye or he didn't actually go I don't know. He does have a 4.67 40 listed, so maybe?
There's very little scouting out there for a prominent player on a good GA team. ESPN's underclass eval brings in yet another position:
May not be a QB for everyone, but is a dynamic runner. Plays faster than his listed times. Looks and moves like a tailback. Has good size and should continue to fill out. May be a SS at the next level. Good overall quickness and agility. ... May not be a burner.
He's A Football Analyst did offer up a couple of notes similar to ESPN's declaration that Barrett "looks and moves like a tailback."
"He is a natural ball carrier, he runs with good instincts and he is tough to get a big hit on because he runs low to the ground. ...great in space, he is a hard runner and he is a versatile football player."
As did Opposing Coach:
“He’s actually a speedy, shifty running back, but is also a guy who can hurt you between the tackles,” Andrews said. “He runs very well behind his pads and has enough speed to pull away from people. He’s just an all-around special talent. While I was watching film on him prior to our game, ‘explosive’ was the first word that came to mind."
And Touch The Banner:
...thicker than the average high school six-footer. ... strong runner. He uses the long-lost art of the stiff-arm, and he’s not afraid to lower his shoulder to punish defenders. He has good vision and some change-of-direction ability. As a quarterback, he has some pretty good mechanics and a strong, accurate arm with touch, but his height is an issue ... lacks great long speed. He has good acceleration and runs hard, but he’s going to get tracked down from behind.
And that's honestly about it aside from Steve Lorenz's repeated insistence that Barrett is Lorenz's personal Sleeper of The Year:
...one source mentioned the Georgia native as a potential year-one contributor for Michigan this season. He continues to be my personal pick to outdo his recruiting ranking by the time he leaves Ann Arbor.
...the Khaleke Hudson of the class: a prospect whose recruiting ranking is mystifying if you turn on the film and just watch what he does with the ball in his hands. ...from what we've been told, it appears the staff wants to use Barrett as more of an 'offensive weapon' type prospect.
We have to see if he can catch first—one downside of taking a QB and projecting him into a Swiss army role is that he's completely bereft of any blocking or catching experience. That will slow him down. But I more or less see what ESPN and Lorenz do: a guy with more zip than his numbers imply and a great shake at college weight already.
Why Jaylen Samuels? Samuels, who went to NC State and was recently drafted by the Steelers, is the most prominent and possibly only recent college football player who can credibly claim to be a combo RB/FB/TE/slot receiver:
He even threw three passes. Samuels (6-foot, 223) is an identical fit physically and was a spectacularly nondescript recruit ranked #2680 by 24/7. When Michigan talks about using Barrett as an all-purpose offensive weapon they're hopefully thinking more along the lines you can see above than running a glorified wildcat package. Samuels caught an astounding 65 passes a year from 2015 to 2017 and added about that many carries; he was very Offensive Weapon and not a tailback.
Other comparables include a half-dozen people at several positions. If he settles into a running back role, De'Veon Smith. If he's more of a move TE, Aaron Shea. If he's a linebacker, James Ross or Devin Bush.
Guru Reliability: Low? I don't know how this dude who got a reasonable number of P5 offers has almost literally no scouting other than some shrugs about his position.
Variance: Moderate. "Where does he play?" is a valid issue and might slow him down as Michigan punches him at various places. Hands and blocking total question marks. OTOH, college sized already and seems easy to slot him in at RB.
Ceiling: High-minus. I agree with ESPN that his tape doesn't look like a guy in the high 4.6 range. He blazes by folks playing at a high level of Georgia high school ball; he looks explosive and jump-cut capable at 215.
General Excitement Level: High-minus. Barrett barely missed being the sleeper of the year because he could get lost in the shuffle at various positions and doesn't have a clear and obvious path to the field like Schoonmaker, but it was a close call.
Projection: Barrett's certainly big enough to play as a freshman if Michigan can just figure out what they want to do with him. His best chance for immediate playing time is on offense, where anyone with a unique skill set can have a package to take advantage of it. Also, Hudson and Bush are hard guys to chip playing time off of even for veterans.
Long term Barrett is probably going to settle in as a tailback. He's shaped like one, he's done a lot of running, and in his junior film he looks much more natural throwing in some wiggle downfield than he does as a linebacker who has to stop and redirect 180 degrees with some frequency. I'd love to see Michigan pull off that Jaylen Samuels approach, but Samuels is currently sui generis for a reason.