Saline High School Phil Barnett has come a long way since the start of the school year. When the year began, Barnett was battling to win the starting cornerback job on the Saline football team. Barnett won the job, held it all year and Wednesday, he signed a letter of intent to play football at Alma College.
Barnett, son of Cindy and Kerry Barnett, was one of seven Saline football players to sign Wednesday.
Alma’s campus and facilities won over Barnett.
“When I took my visit there the campus was beautiful. The facilities were nice. They are new,” Barnett said. “I just loved it. The atmosphere was great.”
Barnett finished his senior year with 13.5 tackles, three broken passes, and an interception.
He returned the interception 27 yards for a touchdown against Holy Names on Sept. 2.
Asked to choose a high school memory that stood out, Barnett struggled to choose just one.
“This year there were so many memories. All the comebacks in the last quarter. The Cass Tech game was memorable, even though we lost. There were so many,” Barnett said.
After a couple of years in coach Joe Palka’s sophisticated football program, Barnett is ready for the next step.
“I feel totally prepared. Coach Palka treats us like we’re college kids and he runs his program like a college program, so I feel 100 percent ready,” Barnett said.
Palka said Saline began the year not knowing who would play corner. But Barnett stepped up and took the job.
“He made himself into a very valuable corner for us. We were not sure who would step up at that position and he gave us a great year,” Palka said. “I think he can play safety or corner at the next level.”
Barnett plans to study economics.