Mark Barnes: One team has slight edge

Mark Barnes, a five-star prospect and the nation's No. 2-ranked safety, has narrowed his list down to a pair of schools - South Carolina and Louisville. Sunday, the 6'3, 190-pound standout said one team has a slight edge in his recruitment. Who leads for Barnes?

Mark Barnes, a five-star prospect and the #2-ranked safety in the nation, has narrowed his list down to two programs – Louisville and South Carolina.

Barnes, a Columbia, South Carolina native, has already made an official visit to Louisville. The 6'3, 190-pound standout visited U of L in September and watched the Cards pound Miami 31-7.

Barnes finished his season with a playoff loss last Friday night, and now his attention is focused on making a college decision, which he plans to make next month. "I'll probably make my decision around the Shrine Bowl in early December," Barnes said Sunday evening.

Barnes said he'll likely make visits to both U of L and South Carolina before making his decision. He said he wanted to attend Louisville's game last Thursday against West Virginia at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium but couldn't because his own team played the next day. Though he couldn't attend, Barnes was glued to the television to watch Louisville beat the Mountaineers 44-34.

Barnes will pick either South
Carolina or Louisville next month.

"That was a crazy game. It was exciting and a great game," Barnes said. "Louisville is one of my two favorite teams to watch in NCAA football. I was glad to see Louisville get the best of West Virginia and I was pulling for them. I was really happy to see them win the game."

Barnes said he received a text message the day after the Cardinals huge win from Louisville assistant Joe Whitt. "He just wished me luck and told me to have a good game that night, stuff like that," Barnes said.

Barnes made his official visit to Louisville with several of the Cardinals top prospects, including Luther Davis, Jamar Jackson and Weslye Saunders. Barnes said he keeps in touch with several of those players. "We talk about going to the same school," said Barnes. "But we each have to make the best decision for ourselves."

Barnes said it would be "pretty hard" for him to make a decision today, though he did give one school the slight edge in his recruitment.

"South Carolina has really been showing me that they care about helping me academically, so I think they have a little edge on Louisville right now," Barnes said. "But it's not too late for Louisville to make that up. It's never too late."

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