AMES — Jared Barnett established himself as a key player in Iowa State football lore.
Now the sophomore quarterback is moving on.
Cyclone athletics announced Friday morning Barnett — who played his greatest game in ISU’s landmark 37-31 overtime toppling of then No. 2 Oklahoma State in 2011 — intends to transfer, along with backup linebacker C.J. Morgan.
“Leaving behind a lot of great friendships, a lot of great teammates,” said Barnett, who threw for a career high 376 yards and three touchdowns in the triumph over the Cowboys.
Barnett ended the 2012 season as the No. 3 quarterback, but would have likely been listed as No. 2 or a co-No. 1 with Sam Richardson this spring.
“I feel like Iowa State is trying to go a different direction with their program and I don’t think I fit in that direction that they’re going,” said Barnett, who struggled with consistency, completing 49.4 percent of his career passes for 12 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.
Barnett also led ISU to its biggest upset this season — a 37-23 victory at then-No. 15 TCU.
The junior-to-be started and lost the next two games and backed up either departing senior Steele Jantz or Richardson the rest of the season.
He did not play in the regular season-closing loss to West Virginia or the Liberty Bowl loss to Tulsa.
“Jared has had some great games in a Cyclone uniform and we will miss his character in the locker room and on the field,” ISU coach Paul Rhoads said in a statement. “We respect his decision.”
Barnett, 5-11, 199-pounder from Garland, Texas, retains two years eligibility as long as he transfers to a non-Football Bowl Subdivision school, which he indicated is a strong possibility.
“I’m thinking more D I-AA so I don’t have to sit out that year and I can go in and play somewhere immediately,” Barnett said.
Richardson’s hold on the top quarterback spot — despite starting just two career games — appears bolstered by Barnett’s departure.
The sophomore-to-be likely will by pushed by competitors, though, including freshman Grant Rohach, and incoming players such as Joel Lanning and Trevor Hodge.
Barnett wishes them well — and left a lasting mark.
“Cyclone Nation was always very supportive,” he said. “The way they all showed up in Memphis for the (Liberty Bowl) really showed how passionate they are about the Cyclones. It’s going to be hard to lose a great fanbase like that, but I feel like this move is the best for me.”