September 24, 2008

California Tight End Has Dawgs on Top

With the departure of seniors Michael Gottlieb and Walt Winter following this season, Washington will look to add a tight end or two in this class, and the Huskies are currently after Corona (CA) Santiago's Marlion Barnett. The 6-foot-3, 218-pounder is listed as an athlete by Rivals.com, but it being recruited to Washington as a tight end. Barnett, who hauled in an offer from the Huskies in June, also has offers from Minnesota, Fresno State, Boise State, UNLV and San Diego State.

"Recruiting has been going pretty good. I just got an offer las week from Fresno State. UTEP said they would offer me this week and Oregon just requested my film for the next game, so it's been going pretty well," said Barnett. "My top three are probably Washington, Fresno State and San Diego State - Washington is my number one school."

The Huskies appear to be the clear leader for Barnett's services at this point. However, if UCLA offers, the Bruins would jump up to the top spot in a tie for his signature.

"UCLA is basically telling me to be patient. They're just in the process of evaluating me right now. At first they were recruiting me as a tight end, but now they think I might be able to play defense. I think they want to see me play a few games on defense," explained Barnett. "I was just at the UCLA game, and I was hearing a lot of good stuff. The coaches were telling me to not make any quick decision. I think they might offer in the next month or so."

However, the fact that the Huskies offered earlier in the process bodes well for Washington's chances of landing Barnett.

"It means a lot to me that Washington offered early, that's one thing I take to heart," expressed Barnett. "I was really close to almost committing, but I wanted to take my time with it."

The Washington offer came as a surprise to Barnett, who said the Husky coaching staff likes his ability to both catch the ball and block on the line.

"The offer was a surprise. [Offensive Line] Coach [Mike] Denbrock was down here and saw me catch some passes, and I had been receiving a lot of letters from Washington, but it still came as a surprise," said Barnett. "The coaches said I'm a down field threat and a dynamic tight end. I'm not one of the usual tight ends. I can block on the line, but I can also split out as a receiver and cause match-up problems."

Barnett has yet to visit Seattle, but was supposed to see the Emerald City this summer. However, airline complications kept him in California. Barnett has yet to set up a visit to Montlake, but is very excited about the chance to visit.

"I was going to fly up to Seattle during the summer, but there was something wrong with the flights, so I couldn't get up there," explained Barnett. "I can't wait for my official visit. I think that's the next thing me and Coach [Tyrone] Willingham are going to talk about. He said probably some time in December, but he's not sure, so I think that's the next thing we're going to talk about. But I would like to visit during a game, to see how the campus is on game day and all that kind of stuff.

"I heard the campus is really beautiful and the stadium is really nice. I love Coach Willingham and the whole coaching staff, Coach [Brian] White, Coach Denbrock - I just really like the coaching staff. I like Seattle, it seems like a really nice place to live for five years."

Aside from a visit to Montlake, Barnett will also visit Fresno State and possibly San Diego State. Barnett said he is currently receiving the most attention from Washington and Fresno State.

"Every time I talk to a coach from Washington, they definitely sound really interested in me," expressed Barnett. "I get probably two handwritten letters from the coaches every day, so I definitely feel wanted."

Barnett hopes to have his decision made soon, and the Huskies stand in great shape as of now.

"I'll probably make a decision in the next month or month and a half. I don't want to get too deep into the season, so that's probably a good timeline for me," explained Barnett. "I'll have to think a lot and talk to my family, but right now, I'd say that I'll probably end up at Washington.

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