Alex Barbir, ladies and gentlemen!
Hometown/High School: Cumming, GA/South Forsyth
Height/Weight: 5'10"/179 lbs.
Recruited By: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Starz n' Sheetz:
Starz: 3* Across the board
Sheetz: Penn State, Rutgers, Louisville, Air Force, Army West Point, Illinois, Navy
Kicker Alex Barbir has flipped to Penn State from Rutgers.— Jay Poole (@JayPoole247) January 26, 2016
James Franklin hasn't been shy about letting everyone know how important improving special teams is for Penn State, especially at the kicking positions. With the departure of Sam Ficken following the 2014 season, the Lions went through 2015 without a single scholarship specialist on the roster. With limited scholarships available and plenty of depth issues to address, using a scholarship on a kicker or punter was almost a luxury PSU could not afford at the time.
However, those needs seem to be addressed with the verbal commitments of Blake Gillikin at punter and Quinn Nordin at kicker. The former remains a solid member of the PSU Class of 2016, while the latter has spent plenty of time in Ann Arbor despite no public de-commitment from Penn State.
While Nordin's situation played out, the staff kept an eye on Alex Barbir, a prospect they saw originally at a June 2015 camp, and kept in touch despite a verbal commitment to Rutgers. The offer did not come until last week, but after visiting Piscataway this past weekend, Barbir is ready to flip to the Nittany Lions.
Barbir will have every opportunity to win the kicking job from Joe Julius and Tyler Davis, who split the duties in 2015. If nothing else, Barbir may have the inside track on at the kickoff job. Just look at this 71-yard field goal he nailed (wind aided, but still!) over the summer.
Even if he does not step in right from the start, Penn State has addressed a big need at the kicking spot. As for Nordin, this would appear to be the end of the road for him at Penn State, as it seems very unlikely they use two scholarships in the same class on kickers, but there's no word on his next step.
Welcome to Penn State, Alex!