Tulsa (Okla.) Booker T. Washington defensive tackle Calvin Barnett is one of the most dominating defensive players in the country – when he wants to. However, for one reason or another last season he admitted he has a tendency to take plays off.
Barnett said that's not going to happen next season, and he's already working hard to get in better shape and become a better player.
"I'm just trying to make sure I'm in shape since I'm playing both ways," Barnett, who is 6-foot-3 and 300 pounds, said. "Most of the coaches are telling me that they don't feel like I don't play full speed on every play. So me personally, I'm trying to get in real good shape and prove to everybody that I can do it. I'm just working to get in shape so I can go as hard as I can on every play."
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Barnett is betting that he's going to be a changed man.
"There's about to be another Calvin next year," he said. "A totally different Calvin. One that I haven't even seen. It'll be the new and even more improved version."
It's not like the current version is a dud, though.
Barnett emerged as one of the top interior defensive linemen in the country after his junior season. He helped his team win a Class 5A state championship last season, and he picked up an early scholarship offer from Arkansas. That offer list now has expanded to include the defending national champions, two Big 12 teams and another national power.
"I got offers from Florida, Texas Tech, Alabama, Kansas State and those are the ones that have been real recent," Barnett said. "They're all standing out. It's just like now realizing that this is getting real and stuff. Alabama is a good school with great tradition, and Texas Tech and Kansas State always recruit my school, so we're all familiar with those guys.
"And of course Florida stands out because they're the national champions. I was like kind of honored for them to be interested in me."
As he went on to talk more about the schools it became apparent the Florida offer definitely meant a lot to him.
"I talked to coach Brian White," Barnett said. "He's on the staff, and he got in touch with coach Jimmerson here at school. I gave him a call and that's when they talked to me about the offer.
"They liked my style of play. They saw my highlight tape and they were real interested in me. They said in order for them to win the national championship again they need guys like me on the team and stuff like that. He said I just need to focus on my grades and then everything will be all good."
Barnett said both Oklahoma and Oklahoma State are also showing interest but have yet to offer at this point.
"I would think both OSU and OU would come after me, but I'm not really sure," he said. "OSU is really interested. I know they have some interest in me from when I went to their "Junior Day." I'm not really sure if they're going to offer me. I think they might. And OU, I talked to Jackie Shipp, and he said he's really interested in me. He said they're still evaluating me. That's about it with them."
Barnett said in a perfect world, he'd likely stay closer to home. But when you have offers from programs like Alabama and Florida you have to seriously give them consideration.
"I thought about it a lot," he said. "I live with my mom and my sister, so I wouldn't stray from them too far. But it came down to my future, I'd probably be open to looking at a place like Florida or Alabama. Florida is a place where I know I could have a successful future. If it's the perfect opportunity then I won't turn it down."