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Barnes remained firm to the Seminoles throughout the summer and into fall before deciding to look elsewhere.
When he first spoke to CUTigers in early January, Barnes had already taken a December official visit to South Carolina. An official visit to North Carolina was originally scheduled after the Clemson trip.
"Clemson wasn't even in my top-five," Barnes said. "Coach Jeff Scott did a lot of talking. He reeled me in. When I came on my visit, I fell in love with it. It was so unexpected. It came out of nowhere. I went with my heart."
That weekend in January, while in town with his mother, Barnes' heart told him to jump ship. Mom told him she liked the discipline.
The trip to Chapel Hill was promptly cancelled.
"Coach Swinney, the players, the fans, the atmosphere, it felt right," Barnes said. "It's me."
He had a rude awakening upon missing a class earlier this summer. The discipline that mom liked already caught up with him.
"It's a big transition. In college, they don't tolerate anything. You have to do your work. If you miss one class, that's like missing two weeks. I missed one day of class last week," Barnes said. "I'm not going to miss anymore classes. The called my mom. They called the recruiting coach, the head coach, my d-line coach, (Chris) coach Rumph."
As a senior at Jacksonville's First Coast High School, Barnes had about 80 tackles, 25 tackles for loss and nine sacks.
With two-deep defensive end depth chart pretty well set, Barnes is likely to redshirt this fall.