Belleville — Julian Barnett is one of the top cornerbacks in the country for the 2019 class and already has committed to Michigan State.
He picked the Spartans on Dec. 22 over a long list of national powers, including Alabama and Georgia, who played in the national title game earlier this month.
Well, Michigan assistant coach Pep Hamilton made the trip to Belleville High on Friday to give Barnett an offer and head coach Jim Harbaugh texted him the next day to show his interest in him.
Barnett isn’t about to change his mind, though, and is locked in at Michigan State, where he has tremendous respect for longtime Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio and his staff.
“(Michigan's staff) is trying to come up here and build a relationship with me and (offensive tackle Devontae) Dobbs and some other guys," said Barnett, who has two dozen offers.
“Coach Dantonio has been around because of (senior cornerback) Davion (Williams), Dobbs, me, (freshman offensive lineman) Damon Payne and (sophomore cornerback) Andre Seldon, but other than that I just like the program. I feel like that’s my home, like I can go there and play, get a good education and I’ll be led to the right path. I’ve been going there a lot since my freshman year.”
Williams signed with Michigan State last month.
Barnett is an outstanding two-way player. He had 42 receptions for 836 yards and 13 touchdowns this past season while getting in on 28 tackles from his secondary spot with seven sacks, two fumble recoveries and an interception.
Barnett is ranked as the No. 3 cornerback in the nation and No. 2 player in the state for the 2019 class, according to 247Sports. Dobbs is a five-star recruit and the No. 1 tackle in the nation for the ’19 class.
Barnett chatted with Dantonio when he made the trip to East Lansing last Saturday to watch Michigan State play Michigan in basketball at the Breslin Center.
“I talked with Coach Dantonio a little bit and he said (he had interest in me on) both sides of the ball," Barnett said. "Learn one side of the ball first and then come to the other side and learn that. I’m real physical so I like hitting, but I like scoring, too.”
Barnett, who runs a sub-4.40 in the 40-yard dash, played at 6-foot and 175 pounds his sophomore year, then at 6-2 and 192 pounds last fall.
While Barnett is locked in at MSU, he now plans on trying to recruit his teammate, Dobbs.
“He’s like my brother, so I’m just trying to get him to come with me,” Barnett said. “That would be fun.”
So, how difficult was it to say no to Alabama, Georgia, Auburn, Notre Dame and other top schools?
“Yes, it was tough to say no, but I felt comfortable at Michigan State and my mom felt comfortable with Michigan State, too," said Barnett, who recently fractured his tibia. "But in the end, it was my choice."
Barnett is among four players committed for MSU's 2019 class, joining Oak Park quarterback Dwan Mathis, Walled Lake Western tackle Spencer Brown and Madison (Ga.) Morgan County athlete Jordan Huff. Barnett, Mathis and Brown are all rated as four-star prospects and Huff a three-star in the 247Sports Composite rankings.