Barnes, a 6-foot-6, 295-pound offensive lineman for Carmel, the 2006 IHSAA runner-up, caught the collective eye of the Louisville coaching staff at their linemen camp June 10. On the spot, the Cardinals offered Barnes a scholarship and it didn't take him long to accept.
"It was a good visit. I had a good time," Barnes said. "I got to check out the dorms and talk to all the coaches. I talked to Coach Nelson the most. We talked about school and what they hoped to do with me. I think they want me to play tackle. I played guard last year, but I prefer to play tackle."
Though he'd been to Louisville before, Barnes didn't get to see much of the campus or the U of L football facilities. Thursday, he got to look under the hood of the Louisville program, and came away impressed with what he saw.
"The facilities were great," he said. "I can't imagine there is anything better than that. I liked them a lot. I also got to watch the players work out on the field. They looked real good. I think they'll be good this year.
It's no secret why Louisville fell in love with Barnes: He possesses extremely quick feet despite a large frame that can pack considerably more weight and strength.
"One, he's 6-6, 295 and has really good feet," said Carmel coach Mo Moriarity. "He needs to get a lot stronger, but you can't teach a big guy to have good feet. He either does or he doesn't and Ryan does. It's like a quarterback and arm strength – either the guy has a strong arm or he doesn't.
"That's what Ryan brings to the table. You can always add strength to a big kid, but it's hard to get big guys with good feet. And Ryan has good feet."
Barnes said he'll likely make his official visit to Louisville in December. He said he plans to attend Louisville's home games against Syracuse and Utah, as well as the Cardinals game at Cincinnati.
Louisville might also be wise to keep an eye on Carmel's junior quarterback, Morgan Newton. Newton, 6-3, 195, started seven games last season as a sophomore and already holds offers from Purdue and Indiana.
"I never thought I'd have another Rex Grossman," said Moriarity, who coach the Chicago Bears QB in high school, "but Morgan has a big-time arm and he runs very well."