Baning Picking Up Steam on Recruiting Trail

Well, it's certainly a start. Within the last week, St. Mary's Ryken (Leonardtown, Md.) offensive tackle Barnabas Baning added his first two scholarship offers ... and he figures to snag a few more this spring.

Well, it's certainly a start. Within the last week, St. Mary's Ryken (Leonardtown, Md.) offensive tackle Barnabas Baning added his first two scholarship offers from relatively new Division I programs, first from Georgia State and three days later from Old Dominion. The 6-foot-5, 310 pounder said he wasn't totally shocked to snare the verbals, but it was a relief to finally hear the words, "We'd like to offer you a scholarship."

"It feels pretty good to have those opportunities and to have a chance to play college football and get a free education," said Baning, who has since added verbals from James Madison and Toledo. "I don't really know anything about Georgia State, but I have been down to Old Dominion for a game and a visit, and I do like the campus and the coaches. It was good to get that offer as I knew they have been looking at me."

While appreciative, Baning does have his sights set a bit hire right now, however. He's been hearing from coaches at Penn State, N.C. State, Boston College and Marshall, while the hometown school Maryland has been in touch with his trainer and the Ryken staff.

"Probably NC state and Penn State are saying the most. Both of them were saying if I come to campus there's a good chance I get an offer," Baning said. "So I'm going up to Penn State this weekend and NC State in a couple weeks."

Baning said he's looking forward to meeting PSU's new staff and taking in the campus. He's never been to State College, Pa., before, so it figures to be a unique experience for him.

"I'm excited to see them because it's a great program with a lot of history," Baning said. "I've heard really good things about their new staff, so I definitely want to check all of them out and see how it is up there."

The Ryken tackle is particularly fond of NC State, and said the Pack have been recruiting him longer than any other FCS program. Of all the major programs showing interest, he expects NC State to pull the trigger on an offer first.

"I really want the NC State offer because I've been hearing from them for a long time, and I've been down there twice for visits my freshman and sophomore years and loved it," Baning said. "The campus is really nice, the fan support is good and I like the stadium. The coaches are really cool too, and I want the opportunity to talk to them in person again."

Baning would love to meet the coaches from the hometown school as well, but, oddly enough, he has not had much direct contact with them as of yet. The big left tackle said his area's Terps recruiter, Mike Locksley, has been through to speak to his coaches and is monitoring him, but he's unsure if UMD will make a move.

"It's a little weird with Maryland," Baning said. "I went to a camp there my sophomore year, and the line coach at the time [Tom Brattan] said I did really well and they'd be looking at me. But I personally haven't heard anything from Maryland. Hopefully I do at some point."

Baning went on to say that he'd "love" for Maryland to recruit him and have him out for a visit.

"I would be ecstatic, to tell you the truth," Baning said. "It's not far from home, I like the school and they're going to the Big Ten. I'd definitely give them a lot and consider them, although I'd keep my options open and consider everything I have on the table. But Maryland is a real good school, and I would love to hear more from them."

Besides two upcoming visits to PSU and NC State, Baning hasn't decided on what other campuses he'll check out this offseason. He would like to attend one-day camps at Rutgers, Boston College and possibly Maryland, in addition to a couple Nike combines.

This spring Baning is throwing the shot-put and discus for Ryken, in addition to lifting with the football team. Last year he primarily played tackle and said he had a solid campaign all-around.

"I can work on all elements of my game, but I'm physical, aggressive and I play through the whistle," said Baning, who mentioned that almost all of his college looks are at tackle, though a couple want him at guard. "I put guys on the ground and finish off the play."

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