Simply put, he enjoyed watching Clemson's defensive ends. The former Scout.com three-star defensive end had particular interest in Da'Quan Bowers and Ricky Sapp.
So far, Barnes has followed in their footsteps, working primarily at end during his first season in Tigertown.
And don't be surprised if that changes before the end of his collegiate career.
"I could be an athletic d-tackle," he told CUTigers following bowl practice at Clemson last week. "A lot of the players on the d-line call me three-technique, because they think I'm massive enough to play inside.
"By the time I leave Clemson, I'll be inside."
Upon his arrival to Tigertown, Barnes tipped the scales at 250.
Now, he's up to 273.
More size would be nice. But that's not where his focus is heading towards the offseason.
"Next year, I want to be in the best shape of my life," Barnes said. "I'm working hard at practice, trying to get the o-line better. I'm getting my mind right, all the way around, to focus."
It wasn't always easy to bring a mindset like that. Barnes found that he had to adjust to life as a redshirt.
"At first, it's a bummer," he said.
Barnes has since accepted what's been asked of him in year one.
"As the season went by and games by, I started to appreciate my redshirt season…you've got to crawl before you can walk," he said. "You've got to wait your turn, and that's what I'm doing. I'm following a great leader in Da'Quan Bowers, and Malliciah Goodman."
Like the other members of the 2010 signing class that redshirted this season, Barnes has gotten a preview of things to come during jayvee practice—the periods reserved at the end of each period for scout team players.
"It's going good. They're getting us ready. We've been lifting and running more than usual, so I guess it's just going to get us prepared," he said.
Barnes has options
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