Despite team’s struggle, coach says Texas QB is a good find for UNLV


Photo courtesy of Mike Fisher, Northwest High

Taylor Barnhill of Northwest High in Justin, Texas, is one of four from Texas in the first recruiting class of new UNLV coach Bobby Hauck.

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 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.

Join the Discussion:

Check this out for a full explanation of our conversion to the LiveFyre commenting system and instructions on how to sign up for an account.

Full comments policy

Previous Discussion: 32 comments so far…

Comments are moderated by Las Vegas Sun editors. Our goal is not to limit the discussion, but rather to elevate it. Comments should be relevant and contain no abusive language. Comments that are off-topic, vulgar, profane or include personal attacks will be removed. Full comments policy.

  1. I'm not so sure about this pick fellas. We'll have to see how everything pans out, and I hope Hauck chose this guy cause he fits into the style of play Hauck is used to, but I don't expect good numbers to be produced. Call me an optimistic pessimist at this point, and I hope to be proven wrong.

  2. What happened to the kid from Servite?

  3. so from the kids statement, it's assumed he will red shirt next year, then compete with Clausen the following year for the starting spot. I don't see him winning that battle. So he's got a solid two years to grow as a QB before having a chance to start, barring injuries that is.

  4. Does anyone know why Cody Fajardo (Servite) decided not to make his trip this past weekend? He is a stud athlete and a total team leader.

  5. Just looking at the kids picture he looks perfect.

    That is what a QB is supposed to look like. Wow, that is a High School kid?

  6. Hey JerryWayne, you are forgetting about our redshirt from last year Caleb Herring. After this season (or hopefully by the end) Caleb should be competing for the starting QB job and should easily win that over Clausen. Depending how good this Barnhill kid turns out to be after a redshirt season and all things working out well, he should be Herring's backup.

  7. UNLV needs big strong athletes. The fact alone that he's a high school versatile athlete listed at 6'4" 210lbs is reason enough to get him on our roster. He must have shown something as a QB to get offered, but if QB turns out to not be his forte, then there's no rule against moving him to WR or TE or special teams, etc. UNLV needs exactly these type of athletes...big, strong, can throw and catch a ball. Great pick up in my view.

    In general, I like how Hauck is loading this class with big physical guys.

  8. I agree with docrebel, he will end up as a tight end or receiver.

  9. Only time will tell about this young man from Texas

  10. Gang: I just updated this story with stats from Barnhill's last game. Maxpreps didn't account for them. He finished with 1,027 passing yards and seven touchdowns. ...Fajardo canceled his visit last weekend to open an offer for Barnhill.

  11. atleast we know his sister can play! Brittany Barnill-Texas-Ole Miss-Northwest High school-Texas strike out record holder!Check her out on web! Hope it runs in family!

  12. SMB, I don't know much about Herring, except he's a two-time state champ out of CA. His numbers look pretty good. Just curious, why are you confident he'll beat out Clausen?

  13. Better Gray shirt this kid, A QB's job is to make the people around them better...IDK about this one...? Hope I'm wrong...

  14. Sports in LV are lame. There is no interest in teams only betting lines. It's sad... both for the players and fans. You wonder why our education consistently ranks near the worst in the country... because the elders don't teach the youth values and long term goals. Sad.

  15. lvmd, thanks for adding nothing to the article. It's people like you, with the mentality that we have no sports here or that everything is lame that keeps LV off the radar. Thanks. UNLV running rebels don't seem to be doing bad, and UNLV hired a new football coach in case you have been left in the dark for the past few months, to hopefully bolster the image of Las Vegas sports, but all that goes unnoticed right?

  16. LVMD, I've never bet once on a sporting event, yet I attend every UNLV football and basketball game... as do most of my friends. Show a little excitment for life, buddy. Go Rebels!!

  17. BREWER


  18. C'mon Jerry, have you seen Clausen? I mean great athlete, don't get me wrong. The kid is athletic, can run and take a hit. But I wouldn't say he's as accurate as your QB should be. Whenever Sanford had him in the game I'd say he was pretty much protected with his responsibilities out there (run it in for a 3 yard TD, hand it off to Trotter etc). But looking at Herring's numbers, highlights, frame and potential athletic abilities, not to mention most importantly accuracy in HS and I'd say he is more of "the future" than Clausen. At least he had better be. If he's not starting next year then this Barnhill kid better be. If not him then they had better have someone other than Mike Clausen. Who knows I could be wrong, and that isn't necessarily a bad thing.

    In the end, competition at QB is always good.

  19. Clausen has proven himself 100% more than anything Caleb Herring has done at this point. Don't forget when Clausen first arrived at UNLV, he was labeled our QB of the future as well.

    Clausen has proven he can at least compete and lead the team to victory at the D-1 level. Herring hasn't proven that and neither has this Barnhill kid. I'm all for giving all 3 of these guys an open shot at QB after Omar leaves, but don't throw Clausen under the bus just yet. He ain't a scrub.

  20. clausen led his highschool to a championship two years stright.My cousin was his leading reciver Ive seen him play in highschool the kid is a winner if nothing else.

  21. Dont see Mike Clausen as UNLV's QB of the future. sorry.

  22. Just like I didn't see Travis Dixon.

    I just see the 2011 season with a fresh face at QB. If its not Herring or this Barnhill kid then I hope Hauck has found someone that sticks.

    Like i said I could be wrong, and if I am then GREAT! If Clausen is THAT DUDE in 2011 then I will definitely take my hat off to him. Would mean he beat out the others in competition.

  23. HW, the East Dillon reference = greatest post ever :)

    As for the 'Quarterback of the future' talk, I still think someone will have to unseat Caleb Herring, personally. I think he and Clausen will have a pretty solid competition heading into 2011.

  24. Still not to late to offer Ryan Kasdorf from Sherman Oaks Notre Dame a divison 1 powerhouse. He was Cal state player of the year 2008 as a QB who threw for over 3,000 yards, but for some reason has not had solid offers. Could be a gem like his former teammate, Jordan Barrett. All he did was come up 3 weeks prior to the season and move in to the #2 tight end spot, playing quality time in all 11 games. Look for him to switch back to linebacker this season and make a huge impact.. 6'3" 240 lbs.

  25. Let's see......

    - 0-10 record in Senior Year in H.S.

    - 1 yr of QB Experience

    - 7 TDs, 8 Interceptions

    - Zero scholarships from Division I schools.

    = UNLV Scholarhip?????

    You've got to be kidding me. What a waste of a scholarship. Kudos to Hauck & the new regime. Great way to start the recruiting season. We're done.


  26. If this guy can get into Rice why in the heck would he go to UNLV

  27. Oh, and some complete idiot posting here that he's ok because his picture looks good?? Very funny....


    Come on Barnhill prove em wrong. If he does play WR or TE at least he will be able to read Defenses.

  29. what's the saying, you can't teach size. There are some merits to having the physically prototypical QB. But you have to be able to groom him into the final product. Competition at QB is a great thing.

  30. on another note. has ranked the Rebels recruiting class 100th in the nation. We can only go up from here. Prove em wrong Coach Hauck

  31. Thanks Sinatra711...this is too funny, they are passing up Vegas kids for this?...who knows if this kid can even catch/block as a tight end or receiver. Just cause you are 6'4" doesn't automatically qualify you as a D1 athlete. He is from Texas the HS football meca, if he was any good somebody else would have picked him up thats for sure.

  32. Sinatra711,

    The kid was shown interest from other and better D-1 schools (Except for Rice). I think this is a great pick up. You have to be pretty good to get invited to the Elite 11 QB camp in Texas. Its one of the best in the nation. And did you really expect Hauck to get 5 star prospects in his first year here? You gotta be realistic. Teams like Boise, TCU, BYU, Utah, they dont even get 5 star prospects. They will get a few 4 star's but thats it. Dont ride the kid off just yet.