Chris Barnett, a tight end who had at one point signed with the University of Michigan, said he is interested in playing football at UMass.
The 6’6, 240-pound athlete originally signed a letter of intent with the Wolverines back in February 2011, but transferred to a community college in Texas due to “personal” reasons five months later. He has been looking for a new school, and some of the opportunities at UMass have piqued his interest.
“Well it’s a new program to the FBS. I know fans: Once you get them hooked they’re loyal. So if the program can string some wins I know the fan support will take off,” Barnett said. “It’s a good college overall from academics to the geography of the school and its history. There are coaches on the staff with NFL experience. So with more depth and, no disrespect, but more talent, the team could really start something special. Plus with four years left I could help build the program. So there are more pros than cons when I look at everything.”
He mentioned that, if he did sign with UMass, he would be able to play during the 2013 season.
Barnett has been in contact with Shane Waldron, UMass’ recruiting coordinator and tight ends coach. He indicated that UMass has offered a scholarship, and that he needs to figure out where “everything sits with me academically … but it’s looking good.”
Barnett anticipates making a decision in either late November or early December.
UMass isn’t the only school pursuing Barnett. He indicated that “a few schools” that were originally recruiting him are back in the fold – and that list is pretty impressive. Coming out of high school, Barnett had offers from more than 20 of the top BCS programs in the nation, according to Rivals.
Barnett would be a huge boost to UMass’ tight end situation. Next season the Minutemen will return starter Rob Blanchflower, but have little other depth to speak of. Nevin Cyr, who is redshirting this season, may provide some assistance, but it’s unclear whether he will be a tight end or linebacker when he finally suits up for the Minutemen.