Blake Barnett leaves Alabama, could exploit little-known transfer rule

Graham Watson

Alabama coach Nick Saban confirmed Thursday evening that quarterback Blake Barnett has left the program. Barnett started the season opener for the Crimson Tide, but was replaced by Jalen Hurts. He hasn’t started since.

“We received word this afternoon that Blake Barnett has officially withdrawn from school and is no longer with our program,” Saban’s statement read. “The quarterback position is a very unique position where only one player can play. We are very disappointed any time a player leaves the program who feels he can compete for a starting position elsewhere, rather than here at Alabama. We wish Blake the very best of luck in the future.”

Blake Barnett started vs. USC (Getty).
Blake Barnett started vs. USC (Getty).

While some will quibble with the timing for Barnett’s decision, an article in 247Sports details why it might be ingenious. Barnett could take advantage of bylaw 14.5.6 in the NCAA transfer guide, which states that if Barnett were to transfer to a two-year institution and graduate with a GPA over 2.5 and at least 12 credit hours a semester, he could be eligible to play the following year at another FBS school.

Barnett is a redshirt freshman who enrolled early at Alabama, so after three full semesters with the Tide, he’s already on his way to earning his associates degree (two-year degree).

The 247Sports article cites various opinions about whether Barnett would be eligible for 2017 or 2018, but if he is able to pull this off and be back on the major college football field for next season, it could affect the way players approach transferring moving forward.

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Graham Watson is the editor of Dr. Saturday on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email her at or follow her on Twitter!