Despite gaudy passing stats, this is a running back. [Valdosta Daily]
At somewhere in the neighborhood of 6-foot-even, 215-pounds, Valdosta (GA) Lowndes athlete Michael Barrett faced a choice: remain at quarterback in an option system, likely at in-state Georgia Tech, or give that up in favor of being more of an Ohio State-style H-back (think thicc Curtis Samuel):
Webblog: Things heating up with 2018 Valdosta (Ga.) Lowndes ATH Michael Barrett. Had heard trail went cold, but things never freeze completely with athlete this versatile. Wildcat QB, RB, slot, & returner. 7A player of year in Ga. (VIP) https://t.co/bNYrJ0RVxr pic.twitter.com/J0DWTSokuY
— Sam Webb (@SamWebb77) January 23, 2018
Looking at the two pictures above, you'd probably want to see Barrett in more of a running back role for his future NFL prospects. Barrett apparently agreed, choosing the Wolverines over the Yellow Jackets this evening with a post on Twitter. He's the 21st commit in the 2018 class, the second to pledge in three days, and the third who should spend a large portion of his time at running back, joining Hassan Haskins and Christian Turner.
In semi-related news, Michael Barrett the football player rather difficult to google these days.
3*, 5.6, NR ATH,
3*, 78, #50 ATH,
3*, 86, #70 ATH,
#84 GA, #811 Ovr
3*, #64 ATH,
#72 GA, #733 Ovr
I'm honestly not sure how to reconcile Barrett's very middling rankings with his decent offer sheet, solid tape, and remarkable high school production. I know Georgia is loaded with talent, but he looks like he deserves a higher placement than, at best, 63rd in the state.
All three sites list Barrett at 6'0" (except 247, which docks him a half-inch) and somewhere between 200 and 215 pounds. That is very much a running back build.
[Hit THE JUMP for scouting, video, some very impressive stats, and more.]
There is surprisingly little out there on Barrett given he starred for multiple seasons against high-level Georgia competition. Even though Barrett was the region player of the year in Georgia's largest classification as a junior and articles indicate he attended at least a couple camps with media coverage last spring, a scouring of the recruiting sites reveal only one full scouting report. It's an underclassman eval from fire-and-forget ESPN:
Strengths: Versatile. 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. Good ball handler. Areas of Improvement: May not be a burner. Has a live arm, but erratic and would need polish and development. Bottomline: Good player, very good athlete that plays at a good school against quality people. Competes. Viable option on both sides of the ball.
The only other available pieces of information are Barrett's stats, which are rather bonkers and will make you wonder why Joe Milton is the quarterback of this class (via MaxPreps)...
|Year||Comp-Att (%)||Yards||YPA||TD||INT||Rush||Yards||YPC||Rush TD|
...and his film, which should answer that question when you see his throwing motion:
He makes enough impressive, unorthodox throws to make you think he could hack it at quarterback; then he takes off running and you want to see much more of that. Since there was a dearth of updated scouting reports out there, we had the new Mr. Future Blue, Adam Schnepp, break down Barrett's senior tape with a focus on his probable future at running back (I've added emphasis):
I can see why Michigan's been after Mike Barrett for so long. He's obviously fast, but I came away from viewing his nine-game tape more impressed with how he utilizes his quickness than with his straight-line speed. He repeatedly sped up and slowed down as defenders drew closer so as to force them into either taking a bad angle or missing the tackle entirely. He also showed that he can stick a foot in the ground and change directions without losing speed. Barrett was rarely brought down by the first free defender he encountered. He also runs low to the ground and with good balance.
That all means very little, though, if a guy doesn't know where he's going. Barrett's decision-making was excellent, and he made good decisions quickly. I thought the most impressive part of his quarterbacking was his ability to throw accurately on the run despite funky mechanics; he was able to get out of the pocket and find the open man repeatedly, and he did so while fitting the ball into some fairly tight windows. As a runner, he always ran to the right side of his block in the open field. This is a guy who isn't going to run into a clogged frontside B gap when the backside A gap is there for the taking because he has good vision and processes what he sees quickly and accurately.
I think Barrett has greater utility as a running back because of his quick-decision-making-plus-elusiveness combo and Michigan's roster composition, but he's not a bad quarterback. His throwing motion is very reminiscent of a shot putter, and though not aesthetically pleasing, the resulting throws were shockingly accurate. While Barrett's arm strength is satisfactory it's not a plus.
There you have it. Barrett should develop into a stocky, 220- or 230- pound back who's at his best operating between the tackles.
Barrett holds offers from Georgia Tech, LSU, Maryland, Michigan State, NC State, Nebraska, South Carolina, Tennessee, UCF, USF, Virginia, and West Virginia, among others. Other than Georgia Tech, I believe all the power conference schools were recruiting him as a running back or athlete, not a quarterback.
First of all, Barrett spearheaded a record-setting season for Lowndes in 2017:
The Vikings finished 11-1 after a perfect 10-0 regular season led them to a Region 1-7A championship (their first region title since 2010). They set a new school record for points scored in a season with 627, shattering the previous record of 594 from last year. The offensive outpour allowed Lowndes to become the 60th team in Georgia high school history to pass 600 points in a season, according to the Georgia High School Football Historians Association. Lowndes scored 50 points or more in nine games.
The school has produced several Power 5 signees in the Rivals era (2002-present), including former FSU signees Greg Reid, Telvin Smith, and Gerald Demps.
In addition to the offensive stats posted above, Barrett accrued some solid numbers as a defensive back in his sophomore year, recording 44 tackles (27 solo) with three TFLs, two interceptions, two pass breakups, and two fumble recoveries. He scored six total touchdowns that year: four rushing (on only 30 carries; he also had six two-point coversions) and one each on fumble and kickoff returns.
FAKE 40 TIME
Barrett's ESPN page lists SPARQ-verified combine numbers: a 4.67 40 (zero FAKEs), 4.40 shuttle, 34.4-inch vertical, and 37.5-foot powerball throw for a solid all-around score of 95.7. While he doesn't have the most wiggle, he's got solid explosiveness and decent straight-line speed.
Nearly 19 minutes of junior highlights:
Single-game reels can be found on his Hudl page.
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
Barrett should indeed wind up at running back unless things really go pear-shaped at quarterback or he makes the six-foot-nothing, power-running version of Vince Young thing work for him enough to win over the coaches; for many reasons, especially the passing talent of the other quarterbacks on the roster, that'd be a surprise.
Instead, he should battle with classmates Haskins and Turner, as well as Kurt Taylor, for scattered snaps behind the returning RB corps of Karan Higdon, Chris Evans, Kareem Walker, and O'Maury Samuels. Barrett has the added dimension of his passing ability as a means to work his way onto the field; on the other hand, he also has the least experience as an actual running back. He's got the physical ability to develop into a tough, one-cut back; it might take him a few years to get there, especially since Jim Harbaugh isn't going to stop recruiting talent in the backfield.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
It's now got 21 members in a class that should add a few more. With wide receivers JaMarr Chase and Chris Olave, who were relatively luxaries, looking like longshots, the focus is primarily on offensive tackle (Jarrett Patterson, Nick Petit-Frere), defensive tackle (mostly a question mark), and retaining Otis Reese (looking better recently).