Barnett a Razorback
BY MIKE STRAIN World Sports Editor
Thursday, February 04, 2010
8/15/10 at 8:07 AM
He arrived wearing black and orange. He left wearing Arkansas red.
Booker T. Washington's Calvin Barnett — one of the nation's highest ranked defensive recruits — will attend Arkansas, breaking a commitment of nearly six months to Oklahoma State. Barnett, a defensive tackle, signed Wednesday at the Tulsa Public Schools Education Service Center — where athletes from throughout the district held a signing day ceremony.
"I just felt like I'm really at home (at Arkansas)," Barnett said, noting that he had no problem with OSU. "It was just a feeling that I fit in better (at Arkansas)."
Barnett arrived wearing a Booker T. Washington pullover, the same school colors as OSU. A few minutes later in front of media cameras and friends, Barnett took off the Hornets pullover to reveal a red Arkansas Razorbacks sweater vest. Then, he slipped on a Razorbacks ball cap.
Barnett will join high school teammate Eric Bennett at Arkansas. Bennett, a quarterback in high school, committed to Arkansas in October and never wavered. He joined Barnett on a visit to the school nearly two weeks ago. Barnett canceled a visit last weekend to OSU due to icy roads.
Barnett said people have been talking about how Bennett was "in my ear" about signing with Arkansas. But, Barnett said, Bennett's influence didn't determine the final choice.
Instead, Barnett said he made a list of pros and cons and discussed the decision with his mother. He said he decided to choose Arkansas in "the last few days."
When asked about the disappointment OSU fans would feel over the broken commitment, Barnett — a four-star recruit on a five-star scale — said he had to make a decision that was best for him.
"If they really support me, they can come be an Arkansas Razorbacks fan," said Barnett, who quickly added that he knew OSU fans weren't going to do that.
Barnett and Bennett follow Booker T. Washington alum Felix Jones, who's now with the Dallas Cowboys, to Arkansas.
Bennett said he's spoken to Jones in recent days, but Jones didn't try to convince him to sign with the Hogs.
"He was telling me to make the best decision for me," said Bennett, who anticipates playing immediately as a kick and punt returner.
Bennett said Arkansas coaches planned to try him at receiver on offense and in the secondary on defense before determining where he would play.
Arkansas had three signees from the Tulsa metro area. Jenks' Jarrett Lake — an OU commitment since last summer — also signed with the Razorbacks.
Mike Strain 581-8356
Booker T. Washington's Calvin Barnett said Arkansas is a better fit for him. MIKE SIMONS/Tulsa World