Ball State Class of '08: Jeff Barker

Over the next 24 days, will be highlighting each player in the class of 2008 and doing a brief scouting report on each of the 24 players in the class (21 new players signed and 3 greyshirts). Stay tuned over the next 3 ½ weeks as we profile each of the players.

Jeff Barker, 6-6 210 DE , Lowell, IN (Lowell)

What he brings: Barker is long, but also has quick feet and is a fast athlete for his height (former high school hurdler). The best way to describe Barker is that he is rangy and is able to cover short distances in a moment thanks not only to his 6-6 frame, but also his quickness. Barker can also track plays down from behind with his 4.67 speed. Barker is an athlete with tremendous upside. He boasts a frame that is capable of putting on 20-30 lbs without losing a step. Right now, Barker is slightly undersized at a generous 210, but he can already out quick the man across from him because of a brilliant first step and solid pass rushing skills. Barker already possesses above average pass rushing skills (26 career sacks as a prep) and lean coming off of the edge. Barker's best attribute though may be his motor. He boasts a great motor that does not quit and he will play through the whistle on every single snap. Also, thanks to his lengthy frame, Barker has the ability to bat down passes when he is unable to defeat his blocker on the pass rush. Barker also has the ability to track plays down from behind thanks to his good speed. Barker really shows this skill a lot on tape thanks to teams constantly running away from him during his high school career. Barker can also extend out to stretch out running plays that are set up to be run outside of the tackle. Baker is the epitome of this class as he was a very under recruited player that went almost completely unknown but thanks to his blend of size, speed and talent, is a true diamond in the rough.

Areas of improvement: Weight. I can say that Barker should prove to be a very good edge rusher even if he doesn't add a considerable amount of weight, but if he can get up in the 235-245 range, look out, because he has the skills to be a force in the Mid American Conference. Barker also needs to learn to become stout against a division 1 running attack that is coming at him. He has great tail end speed and can track from behind, but at his current size and skill level against the run, Barker will struggle against a team that leans on him and tries to run over and through him. grade: Potential All-MAC player.

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