Pressure off for Barnes

Tavaris Barnes wanted to make Clemson his home before wrapping up his official visit to Tigertown in January. He cancelled a trip to North Carolina for the following weekend and backed off on his commitment to Florida State after just one visit to Clemson.

DE Tavaris Barnes Profile

The pressure of the recruiting process wore off after that Sunday that he committed.

"I'm just focused on Clemson. I'm just ready to get up there and do my thing," he said.

Working out with several of his First Coast High School teammates, the three-star defensive end is getting ready for life on the Clemson football team.

"I've been lifting weights with the high school team every Monday, Tuesday and Thursday and I'm running, trying to stay in shape so I can be better off when I get there," he said. "I know they're going to work me like crazy when I get there. I just want to be able to have a little wind when I get there."

The work-outs sent to Jacksonville, Fla. are more demanding than anything prior. Barnes admits the regimen is not only a challenge physically, but also mentally.

"When I'm doing it, I'm just thinking that I have to get there. I'm going to the next level and it's a whole other thing I'm going into," he said. "The competition is bigger and better. I have to be ready to compete when I get there. That's why I've got to do it."

Everything is all squared away in the classroom too. In fact, during the third nine weeks, Barnes made the school's honor roll.

The fourth nine weeks "are going to be a breeze."

"Of course, I've got a little senioritis, but my test score is straight. That's been straight," Barnes said.

Voted by his classmates as the most athletic member of the 2010 senior class, he was also named most opinionated.

Barnes and recruiting coordinator/wide receivers coach Jeff Scott have kept in regular contact since signing day.

"I just talked to him (Tuesday). He said he was going to come see me next week. I'm excited about that," Barnes said.

Like Barnes was, before switching to Clemson, 2011 First Coast defensive tackle Derrick Mitchell is committed to Florida State. Barnes has been sure to stay in his ear about Clemson.

"I'm talking to him about Clemson. I've got to get that in there," Barnes said.

If he's unable leave shortly after graduating in June, which he would like to do, Barnes plans to be in Clemson for summer classes in July. Top Stories