Few prospects have been hotter over than last several weeks than Brandon Barnes from Bunn (NC) High School. Each day seems to bring another scholarship offer and the rising senior now boasts offers from one side of the country to other.
The most recent scholarships arrived from Michigan, Oklahoma, Maryland and Tennessee. Another national power to throw their hat in the ring was Southern Cal. That offer seemed to catch Barnes slightly off guard.
"USC is so far away and that surprised me," said Barnes. "They called my coach at school and said they were offering."
With nearly 20 offers on the table, Barnes has a bevy of colleges from which to choose. However, three particular programs have seemingly positioned themselves well in the early going.
"The top ones of the schools that I've visited are Clemson, Auburn and NC State for running the ball. I can play running back but I'm versatile so I can play other positions, too. But either way it really doesn't matter to me. I like wide receiver and running back but most schools are recruiting me as a running back."
Although he didn't participate in the 40-yard dash due to a hamstring injury, Barnes did record an impressive 34.3-inch vertical jump and 16 reps of 185 pounds on the bench press at the Shrine Bowl combine held at Greene Central High School this past weekend.
That kind of talent has made Barnes a major priority for the NC State coaching staff and the Pack is a serious team of contention. Barnes talked about what stands out with State.
"The new coaching staff, they know what they're doing," he said. "The situation as in Andre Brown and Toney Baker, they'll probably leave early so I could see some playing time as a freshman. They've been pushing the early playing time. Coach Swepson, he's the running backs coach and he is recruiting me. He's cool, calm and collected. He's a pretty cool dude and I like him."
Barnes said that Auburn is currently recruiting him the hardest.