Lane Kiffin's presence in Tuscaloosa, Ala., is already paying off for Alabama's recruiting.
After decommitting from Notre Dame earlier in the month, Rivals four-star quarterback Blake Barnett took a visit to Alabama over the weekend. He verbally committed to the Tide on Wednesday, citing the influence of Alabama offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin and the success he's had with quarterbacks.
Kiffin signed on to be Alabama's offensive coordinator in January after he was fired by USC in September.
"I spoke with Coach Kiffin and Coach Saban," Barnett told TideSports.com. "I let them know I wanted to play for them. I had questions about furthering my career and how they thought I would fit in the program. They answered my questions. They were very excited. It was nice to talk to them. It was refreshing.
"Coach Kiffin played a big role in my decision. It wasn't the deciding factor because Coach Saban is the big man. Coach Kiffin made a huge impact though. He had very successful offenses at USC and put several quarterbacks in the NFL."
The primary quarterbacks Kiffin has worked directly with as either passing game coordinator, co-offensive coordinator or head coach at USC? Matt Leinart, John David Booty, Matt Barkley and (briefly) Cody Kessler. While the former three have made it to the NFL and to say their success in the college ranks is greater than their professional accomplishments is an understatement.
(Kiffin started his career at USC in 2001 as the school's wide receivers coach. He became the passing game coordinator in 2004 and co-offensive coordinator a year later for two seasons. Following head coaching stints with the Oakland Raiders and Tennessee Volunteers, he succeeded Pete Carroll as USC's head coach in 2010.)
A former first-round pick, Leinart hasn't played a game in the NFL since 2012. Booty was a backup quarterback and cut by the Houston Texans before 2010 and Barkley is a backup for the Philadelphia Eagles, committing seven turnovers in three appearances in 2013.
And while it's fair to wonder the influence that USC played in the chances the three got at the professional level, they did make it to the NFL. Making it to the NFL says something, even if it can be construed both positively and negatively.
Besides, it's not like Alabama has had the greatest record with quarterbacks in the NFL, either. The last Alabama QB drafted in the first round of the NFL draft was Richard Todd in 1976, and since then, Alabama QBs haven't faired well professionally.
Barnett does stand out from the USC quarterbacks mentioned above and any recent Alabama quarterback, however. He's a dual-threat quarterback, capable of making plays with both his feet and arm. If he comes to Alabama and wins the starting job, he could show a look we haven't been accustomed to seeing from both Kiffin and Saban.
For more Alabama news, visit TideSports.com.
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