Cabot junior athlete Jarrod Barnes committed to Arkansas on Thursday night.
Barnes (5-11, 173, 4.52), who played quarterback for Cabot last season and was the first in-state 2017 prospect offered by the Razorbacks in the 2017 class, is slated to play slot receiver and return kickoffs and punts for Arkansas.
He made his pledge on Richard Davenport’s Recruiting Thursday radio show.
“I think I have my decision already,” Barnes said. “I am going to commit to the University of Arkansas.”
Barnes, who rushed for 1,090 on 111 carries and 17 touchdowns as a junior, becomes the Razorbacks’ second 2017 commit as Metairie, La., Archbishop Rummel linebacker Derrick Munson (6-1, 190) committed on Jan. 29.
Barnes, who also drawing interest from Auburn, Kansas, Missouri and Arkansas State, has been in constant contact with Barry Lunney, Jr., Arkansas’ chief in-state recruiter.
He is also excited about playing with former Arkansas Vikings youth football teammates Kevin Richardson – a current Razorback defensive back - and North Little Rock wide receiver Tobias Enlow, who will walk on next season.
“Me and Coach Lunney seem like we have a connection because he has been talking to me a lot about different things,” Barnes said. “Tobias is going there and K-Rich is already there and I just want to reunite with them.
“Coach Lunney said they are going to play me as a slot receiver, punt returner, kick returner, just an athlete that gets the ball.”
Barnes was offered by Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema and Lunney exactly a week earlier.
“When he told me he was going to offer me I was just shocked and I didn’t think this could be real,” Barnes said. “He said it again and I was like ‘maybe this is real.’ He said it one more time and I was like ‘alright, this is time.’ I just got excited.
“I told my friends and they were like jumping around and going ‘oh, no way’ and I was like ‘yeah, he just offered me.’ They couldn’t believe it.”
Gretchen Juergens, Barnes’ mom, was very excited when her son let her know of the offer.
“I was at work when he called me and needless to say I drew a lot of attention from my co-workers with my reaction to the news that Jarrod shared with me,” Juergens said. “It was pretty comical. The ladies at work got a pretty good laugh out of me.
“…It was a great day. Coach B and Coach Lunney were my favorite people that day.…I was excited, extremely excited, very proud and just overwhelmed. I was very happy for him. He had been wanting this for awhile.”
Juergens lauded Lunney’s recruitment of Barnes.
“The Hogs were number one on my list for sure, not just because we are Hog fans, but just because of the way Coach Lunney in particular has interacted with Jarrod,” Juergens said. “He has spent a lot of time talking with Jarrod niot just about football, but about all kinds of different things.
“He has come to Cabot to watch him play football, watch him practice and now even during basketball season he’s come to watch him practice.
“He has stayed in constant contact with Jarrod, checked on him at least once a week and even more than that. Just him taking the time and getting to know my son outside of the football field has put them at the top of the list for sure.”