Virginia Tech has made the first cut for one of the top prospects in the state of North Carolina. Brandon Barnes, a top running back/athlete recruit out of Bunn High School, visited Virginia Tech earlier this spring and came away impressed enough to include the Hokies in his final six.
"We took a tour of the campus and went out to eat," Barnes recalled of his visit to Virginia Tech. "I talked to Coach O'Cain and Coach Beamer. I watched a practice. I liked the campus. It is a beautiful campus. I didn't watch a full practice, but I liked what I did see. I loved the way they ran the practice."
Barnes' top six consists of only one in-state program.
"Basically, my top in-state school is N.C. State," Barnes said. "Then there is Virginia Tech, Michigan, Florida, Auburn and Clemson.
"This is the main top six that I've chosen. With so many schools interested, I had to narrow it down so it wouldn't get so crazy. It was already getting a little crazy."
Of the programs in his top six, Barnes has visited all except for Florida and Michigan. He has had terrific experiences at the four he has visited.
"I loved all of them," Barnes said of his visits to Auburn, Clemson, N.C. State and Virginia Tech.
Barnes is hoping to make a decision during his senior season. He may narrow his list even further before his season begins before making several official visits this fall. When it comes time to commit, he says he will simply go with the right feeling.
"I feel every college in my top six is a good place to play," Barnes said. "I'm going off of the feel I get with each school. I'll go with my heart when I do make my decision."
Asked if any of his top choices stand out above the rest, Barnes answered, "I'd probably say Clemson and Auburn. Basically, I love the atmosphere and I love the coaches and the situation. At Clemson, I could come and if James Davis leaves early then I could have a better chance of playing my freshman year. When you think of Auburn, you think of running backs and what they have done in previous years."
Very fast, the 6-1, 195-pound Barnes says he ran the 100 meters in 10.8 seconds as a sophomore. He earned all-conference in track that year, but this year did not participate because of a pulled hamstring. In his junior season on the gridiron, Barnes rushed for over 500 yards and added over 200 yards receiving. He is being recruited by Virginia Tech as a running back/athlete.
"My strengths are my speed, my vision and my versatility," Barnes said. "I played on both sides of the ball last season. I played a little wide receiver and caught a few touchdowns. I ran a few kick-off returns back for touchdowns. I had five interceptions and about 70 tackles on defense. I think that shows I'm pretty versatile.
"I'm working on going as hard as I can on every play. I want to get more production out of my talent and speed."