Cards in the Top 3 for 5-Star prospect?

Mark Barnes, the 5-Star wide receiver/safety prospect has decided which schools he will visit, and will end his summer with a long road trip or two, as well as one across town, to make an unofficial visit to some programs he is interested in. Then later this fall he will hop a plane for a couple of other official visits. Find out which schools made his list.

His first stop will be at South Carolina, where he will attend the Gamecock's first fall practice. While at USC he plans to hang around with another highly recruited prospect, quarterback Stephen Garcia of Tampa. The prospects of those two playing together at USC has Gamecock fans salivating.

The next weekend he will hit the road to Florida, where he will visit the campuses and facilities of Florida and Florida State on Saturday, August 12. On the way back up from Tallahassee, he will stop in Atlanta on Sunday to visit Georgia Tech.

Barnes is planning an official visit to Louisville, a program he says he "likes a lot." He will also take an official visit to LSU, a program he grew up cheering for. That visit will probably be for the Kentucky game on October 14. He looks forward on that trip to visiting with his former RNE teammate Calvin Harrison, a safety for Kentucky.

He will take an official visit to Southern Cal either the weekend of their game with Cal or Notre Dame. He will be taking an unofficial visit to Virginia Tech also, but is unsure of that date.

Barnes has made it clear that he has his team (RNE) in first place, and recruiting will have to take second place to his team.

His mother Kissena Barnes discussed what he is looking for in a school.

"He hasn't made his mind up yet." She said. "I know whatever he chooses to do, wherever he chooses to go, he will do it 100%. I offer my opinion on how their programs are for academics, but I don't push. He has to be happy with where he goes. USC's (academic) program they presented looks pretty good. I'm not too much worried about the football part, I know he will make the best choice for him. He has his head on straight, and he knows what he is looking for. I tell him to look for the best offer academically."

Mom Barnes was pretty strong about what she did and did not want to see from a school. "You want a program that makes sure you are doing 100% of what you need to do academically." She said. "Not just I'm gonna get you to do just what you have to do academically, as long as you're out on the football field playing ball. That's not it. Wrong answer. I don't want him where they're not worrying about him academically, they're just worrying about him performing out on the field. No."

Mark is looking at psychology as a possible major. She said schools that have stuck out academically that they have been looking at in addition to USC are Alabama, Auburn, and Notre Dame.

Mrs. Barnes discussed the football aspect of his decision as well. "He's undecided." she said, and then discussed the different schools he is looking at. "USC: He likes the atmosphere there, he gets along with the players, and He loves Coach Spurrier, all of them. He gets along with all of them (the coaching staff). Whenever they have anything going on down there, he's going down there, like a scrimmage, whatever. He is considering USC, Louisville and Southern Cal as the main three I hear him talking about. He has talked a little bit but not much about Virginia Tech. He really liked Notre Dame, but he doesn't know yet."

"He's going to check out the Florida schools and Georgia Tech too." She said. "He's going to see the campuses, the coaches, whether they have good communication. That's the main thing, whether you can talk to them when there's a problem, no matter what it is. If you've got that communication, you're good. She said. As long as they can communicate and keep you on that straight and narrow path, then I'm good. I don't want anyone who is going to be too easy on them. He might say, yes I am, I'm very strict."

Mark's parents are best friends with Lito Sheppard's mom, the former Florida player under Spurrier and current starting cornerback for the NFL's Philadelphia Eagles. Mark's father and Lito's mom are former co-workers. Both of Barnes parents loved two things as they observed Lito's career at Florida: how Steve Spurrier recruited and coached Lito, and how the coach made sure that Lito kept up with his academics.

Mark's father would like to see him play at a SEC school, any of them as long as it is in the SEC. Mom said, "If he made his decision tomorrow, I think maybe, this is me thinking, USC." When asked about his second place school, she said, "That is kind of hard to tell between the others. I know he probably doesn't want to go too far from me. I tell him don't worry about Mom, I'm gonna be all right. Choose the school where you want to be, the one that is right for you."


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