AMES – Playing in the Big 12 Conference has been a dream of quarterback Jared Barnett’s for as long as he can remember.
“That’s big time football,” Barnett said. “The Big 12 is where playmakers want to be.”
It’s where Barnett will call home starting next season once he officially accepts Iowa State’s scholarship offer Wednesday on college football’s national signing day. The Cyclones are expecting to add about 25 players to the roster.
Barnett is not the only member of his team — or family – joining one of college football’s most competitive conferences.
Three of his Garland (Texas) High School teammates also will sign with Big 12 schools.
Barnett’s cousin, Eryon, is a freshman defensive back at Texas. And Eryon Barnett’s younger brother is being pursued by Big 12 schools for next year’s recruiting class.
They all played on the same youth football teams growing up and remain close.
“(The Big 12) is kind of in our family,” said Barnett, who also had offers from Kansas State and Houston.
The 6-1, 200-pounder was the first member of ISU Coach Paul Rhoads’ first true recruiting class, and the only quarterback. Barnett gave his commitment way back in May.
“I love the offense,” he said. “It’s the same offense we run at my high school. It’s going to be an easy transition.”
Rated by Rivals.com as the 27th-best dual threat quarterback in the nation, Barnett passed for more than 2,100 yards as a senior and had 20 touchdowns to just six interceptions.
He also ran for almost 400 yards and six more scores.
Barnett almost surely will redshirt and be in the same position current Cyclone quarterback Jerome Tiller was in this past year.
Tiller, a redshirt freshman, was given the chance to win the starting job but lost out to veteran Austen Arnaud. Like Arnaud, he’ll be an experienced junior when Barnett realistically can compete for the spot.
“Let the best man win,” Barnett said. “That’s a very exciting position to fight for.”
He watched the Cyclones go 7-6 last season mainly behind the running of tailback Alexander Robinson. Offensive coordinator Tom Herman’s spread offense was more run heavy than most thought it would be.
“With a guy like Alexander Robinson it’s hard to not hand it off to him,” Barnett said. “I’m sure we’ll pick up the passing more as everybody gets more comfortable in the offense.”
Barnett’s University of Texas-bound teammates have teased him about the difference in talent between the Big 12’s South and North divisions.
“They are saying the North is weak,” Barnett said. “We’ll have to show ‘em.”
Iowa State’s expected list of signees Wednesday
Jared Barnett, QB, 6-1, 190, Garland H.S., Garland, Texas
Adrian Bennett, DB, 6-2, 205, Klein Forest H.S., Houston, Texas
*Jon Caspers, OL, 6-5, 295, ND State College of Science, Wahpeton, N.D.
Shaban Dika, OL, 6-5, 295, Warren H.S., San Antonio, Texas
Tom Farnioik, OL, 6-3, 260, Washington H.S., Sioux Falls, S.D.
Jacob Gannon, OL, 6-6, 255, West H.S., Iowa City
Albert Gary, WR, 5-9, 195, Butler County CC, El Dorado, Kan.
Jeremiah George, LB, 5-10, 191, Clearwater H.S., Clearwater, Fla.
Durrell Givens, DB, 6-0, 195, Chaffey CC, Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.
Bob Graham, OL, 6-5, 280, Jenks H.S., Jenks, Okla.
Duran Hollis, RB, 6-1, 180, Polytechnic H.S., Fort Worth, Texas
*Ricky Howard, TE, 6-5, 255, Chaffey CC, Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.
Cqulin Hubert, LB, 6-1, 217, Eisenhower H.S., Houston, Texas
Brandon Jense, DT, 6-5, 260, Ankeny H.S., Ankeny
Shontrelle Johnson, RB, 5-10, 180, Deland H.S., Deland, Fla.
Nick Kron, DE, 6-2, 245, Valley H.S., West Des Moines
Ben Loth, OL, 6-5, 275, Crespi H.S., Encino, Calif.
Floyd Mattison, LB, 6-0, 190, Morton Ranch H.S., Katy, Texas
T.J. McCullough, ATH, 6-2, 180, North Marion H.S., Citra, Fla.
Clifford Morgan, DB, 6-2, 195, Frostproof H.S., Frostproof, Fla.
*Rony Nelson, DE, 6-2, 250, Yuba CC, Marysville, Calif.
Pierce Richardson, TE, 6-4, 230, Crespi H.S., Encino, Calif.
Matt Thomas, DB, 5-10, 175, Lancaster H.S., Lancaster, Texas
Kirby Van Der Kamp, K, 6-4, 180, Valley H.S., West Des Moines
Jarvis West, WR, 5-7, 165, Gibbs H.S., St. Petersburg, Fla.
*Anthony Young, DB, 5-9, 180, Palomar CC, Ontario, Calif.
Chris Young, WR, 5-11, 185, Trinity Valley CC, Athens, Texas
*already have signed letters of intent and are enrolled at ISU