No. 4 safety strongly considering Louisville

Rated the nation's fourth-best safety prospect, Mark Barnes already holds 31 scholarship offers. While plenty of schools are giving chase, Barnes says that four programs stand out above the rest. Might Barnes become Louisville's next top flight football recruit? InsideTheVille.com has the latest.

Scout.com no. 4 safety Mark Barnes (6-3, 190, 4.45) from Northeast High School in Columbia (S.C.) said he likes LSU, South Carolina, Notre Dame and Louisville above the rest of his 31-plus offers.

"I'm a playmaker and I want to work on uniting my teammates," Barnes said. "I'm looking for a college with a good graduation rate of athletes, a team that can help get me to the next level, and dependable player-coach relationships. I plan to visit all my schools in July or for official visits after the season starts. If I go to the Army All-American game (sponsored by Scout.com), I will probably announce my commitment there.

"I was raised to love LSU--I've most definitely followed them since I was a kid. They win because of their defense; it's how they play. All the coaches are talented because LSU can run, and be a threat at the same time," he said.

"LSU and Louisville are very similar and I like both schools for the same reason. The programs really fit me because they have a balanced offense and defense, and I'm being recruited as both safety and wide receiver. I think I could make a dent in the teams at either position, and they told me I could choose which I want to play.

"For the past three years or so, I've also followed South Carolina and Notre Dame. I like South Carolina because I'm recognized by all of their coaches, and I can communicate with all of them--not just my position coach or the head coach. This is important to me because if my coach falls in the hole, I want to be able to count on the other coaches equally," Barnes said.

"Notre Dame's head coach is so intelligent. He went from coaching college, to the NFL for some championships, and back to college--so he has every kind of experience. I would love to play for a coach who knows just what to do in every situation."

Final junior season stats: 25 catches for 545 yards (21.8 ypc), 5 TDs; 80+ tackles/5 interceptions/19 pass break ups/1 interception during a high school championship game for a 65 yard TD.

Barnes benches 225, squats 380 and has a 33" vertical jump.

He refuses to disclose his core GPA and took his ACT on June 10.


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