Photo courtesy of Mike Fisher, Northwest High
Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2010 | 2:05 a.m.
- Defensive tackle from Washington commits to UNLV, confident in Hauck (01-22-2010)
- Athletic receiver leads list of weekend commitments (01-17-2010)
- Hauck's first week of recruiting a success (01-12-2010)
- UNLV lands verbal commitments from five locals (01-10-2010)
- UNLV may have hit recruiting jackpot with Hawaiian transplant (01-10-2010)
Don't let the subpar numbers from Taylor Barnhill's senior season fool you.
That's the message Northwest High of Justin, Texas, football coach Bill Patterson has for UNLV fans in regard to Barnhill, his 6-foot-4, 210-pound quarterback.
Barnhill, one of three players who verbally committed to UNLV over the weekend, completed only 47 percent of his passes for 1,027 yards and seven touchdowns in 2009. To make matters worse, Northwest didn't win a game.
"He was a good football player on a horrible team. That's the bottom line," Patterson said. "I know it looks bad when you are 0-10 and struggle to average 20 points a game. But he's a good football prospect and a good kid."
Barnhill also threw eight interceptions and twice only passed for 32 yards in a game.
"It was real frustrating," Barnhill said. "I could tell we were improving each week, but it wasn't to the point where we could finish games."
Still, he managed to become a Division I recruit.
Barnhill is listed as a three-star prospect by recruiting Web Site Rivals.com in its five-star evaluating system. The rating can be credited to his performance at the Elite 11 Quarterback Camp in Fort Worth, Texas, over the summer and at other comparable scouting events.
UNLV was the lone school to offer Barnhill a scholarship, but he had interest from South Florida, Miami-Ohio, TCU, Rice and a handful on non-Division I schools in the Texas area.
"Those Division-II schools around here were hoping he would slip through the cracks," Patterson said. "He was waiting for a big school to pull the trigger."
Barnhill's family sent out a tape of game highlights to several schools midway through this season. He first received a note from former UNLV coach Mike Sanford's staff saying they received the tapes.
But, when Sanford and nearly all of his assistants were fired, Barnhill didn't expect to hear from UNLV.
Then, out of the blue, he was contacted by new coach Bobby Hauck's staff and offered a scholarship. He won't take a recruiting trip until this upcoming weekend, but did enough research online to find out that UNLV would be an ideal destination.
"I can see the (football program) turning around quickly with the new coaches," he said.
Barnhill competed for the starting quarterback spot at Northwest as a sophomore, but ended up missing most of the season after breaking his hand during summer workouts. He played wide receiver as a junior and has only one year of experience at quarterback.
And, judging by the numbers, that season had more than its share of rough patches.
"I'm a pretty good leader and my physical attributes are up there with the best of them," he said. "I just need a little more experience and to take advantage of a good redshirt year."
According to Rivals, the others to commit are tight end Jordan Sparkman (6-foot-6, 240-pounds) of Point Loma High in San Diego and offensive lineman Cameron Jefferson (6-foot-7, 250-pounds) of Desert Oasis High in Las Vegas.
Sparkman caught 17 passes for 291 yards and five touchdowns in 2009. Jefferson is the sixth local player to commit to UNLV.
The national signing day is Feb. 3. Until then, commitments are non-binding.