Barney Talks About Decision Process

For the past few months, Miami (Fla.) Northwestern standout offensive lineman Chris Barney was one of the state's most heavily recruited prospects. Many felt good about UM's chances with Barney for most of the process. Now the talented lineman takes us into the process.

"They all came at me hard," Barney said. "I had narrowed it down to five -- Miami, USC, Oklahoma, Rutgers, and NC State. About midway through the season, everyone was talking about me going to UM. I had given it a lot of thought but I didn't know for sure, even after our season had ended. I was still up in the air."

That began to change when all the coaches started visiting Barney at his school and in his home. He talked about the difficulties of that process.

"The toughest part about it was that all the coaches would pretty much say the same things over and over again," he said. "And not all the coaches would tell the truth. I didn't understand how a coach could come to me and tell me that I will be a starter next year or that I will be a freshman All-American or whatever. How do they know that? Based on what? I'd never even practiced with their team yet and they're telling me these things? That's what I liked most about UM and the way they approached me."

Barney said UM's approach was different and became a big reason why the Canes went to high up his list.

"UM told me that I can come in and compete," he said. "They can't promise me anything. If I don't finish the workouts or I stop competing or whatever then I won't play. I'll sit the bench. They never gave any false promises or anything like that. I could tell how straight up and honest they were being with me."

Barney said he finally knew of his final destination during his recruiting visit to UM. He tells an interesting story.

"Being a Hurricane means a lot to me," he said. "It means that I can now be part of their big family. Guys like Edgerrin James, Ken Dorsey, Jonathan Vilma, and Ed Reed all come back to Miami to train during the offseasons. Everyone enjoys coming back and working out there. Someone told me they asked Deion Sanders why he never goes back to Florida State to train and he said it's because there's nothing at Florida State that can help him for where he's at now because their training program isn't up to NFL standards. At Miami, that's a totally different story."

Barney says it was defensive coordinator Randy Shannon who was the most convincing throughout the recruiting process. He recalls a story about running back Antone Smith, who was on the same visit to UM as Barney.

"He just kept it real more than any other coach who recruited me from any school," he said. "He asked Antone Smith why he liked Auburn. Twan told him it's because they were losing both running backs and they said he could go in there and start because they don't have any other backs. Coach Shannon told him to pick up his Auburn book and count how many running backs they had. Twan did that and he saw seven. The same thing happened to me with coaches saying how many linemen they have. Miami was being straight up with me the whole time."

Barney, a full academic qualifier, said he's got a strong message that he wants Canes fans to understand.

"We will be playing for the national title again real soon," he said. "I can promise you that."

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