As the starting quarterback at Erie High School, Blake Barnett has proven he can make plays with his feet.
If there was ever a doubt about his speed, he put those to rest on Sunday.
Barnett, a sophomore who is being recruited by Colorado and others to play football, won the 100-meter dash at the Class 4A state meet. He clocked in at 11.11 seconds in the finals, a time that actually was a bit slower than the preliminaries (11.07).
“Obviously winning the 100 meters, it’s a huge deal,” Barnett said.
Barnett and his Erie teammates added a state title in the 800-meter relay. He ran the anchor leg as the Tigers clocked in at 1:28.45. They were also fourth in the 400-meter relay last weekend.
“We couldn’t perform like we wanted to in the 4×100, but that’s all right,” Barnett said. “We won state in the 4×200 and the 100 meters. You can’t ask for more, really. I’m happy, we’re all happy and I think we ended out this season very strong.”
For Barnett, the performance at state helped validate why he’s already considered one of the best college football prospects in the state. He is currently rated as the No. 2 in-state football prospect for the Class of 2024 by 247Sports.com.
At 6-foot-1 and 210 pounds, Barnett has a big frame for a high school sophomore – especially for a quarterback. Add in the speed and it’s no wonder recruiters are taking notice. He’s got offers from CU, Colorado State, Kansas, Kansas State, Oregon State and Washington. He also visited national champion Georgia in April.
“I mean, it’s awesome,” he said of the recruiting process. “Your dream is coming true you; just get to live that every day. Talking to coaches on the phone is just so awesome because it’s like your dream coming true and you’re able to able to fulfill that.”
CSU gave Barnett his first Division I offer in late January. A few days later, CU offensive coordinator Mike Sanford called to give him an offer from the Buffs.
“My dad graduated from there and it was my second offer, which was awesome,” Barnett said. “Two in-states (as the first two offers). They were back-to-back or in the same week, so it was awesome. I felt on top of the world for a little bit.”
Because he is only a sophomore, Barnett said he has no idea where he’ll play in college, but he likes CU.
“It’s definitely something I have to consider,” he said. “Coach Mike Sanford, the OC, he’s an awesome guy, and I’d do anything to play under him, but I just don’t know if CU is the best fit for me right now. Obviously there’s two more years and we’ll come down that road when we get there.”
For now, Barnett is enjoying being a state champion and he’s looking forward to getting better as a quarterback.
Last year, he led Erie to a 13-1 record and a state runner-up finish. The Tigers were undefeated before a wild, 41-34, loss to Chatfield in the 4A state title game.
During the 2021 season, Barnett ran for 1,049 yards and 24 touchdowns. Despite impressive passing stats (65.4% completion rate, 2,560 yards, 27 touchdowns, seven interceptions), he said he wants to prove himself more as a passer this year.
“Really just throwing the ball,” he said of his top priority for improvement. “Obviously, I can run pretty well. I had 24 touchdowns on the ground. Now I want probably like 30-35 in the air and get like 60 touchdowns this year. That’s the goal – and obviously the state championship.
“There’s always going to be athletes, but I want to be the best quarterback.”