"I wanted to get all this pressure off me," said Barnes. "It's been crazy the past couple of months on me and my family. I talked with my family about going ahead and committing because I knew it was what I wanted."
Barnes made the 40-minute drive to NC State's campus with his father where he verbally committed to Wlfpack head coach Tom O'Brien.
"Man, I know he was happy," said Barnes. "You could just tell. When I told him I was committing to State, coach O'Brien started walking down the hall and he just let out a big howl. It was too funny."
What did NC State land in Brandon Barnes? Tabbed the No. 1 prospect in the state by Scout.com, Barnes is an exciting player who can impact on both sides of the ball.
|"Brandon Barnes is one of the top all around prospects I have seen so far among the Class of 2008."|
"Brandon Barnes is one of the top all around prospects I have seen so far among the Class of 2008," stated Scout.com Recruiting Analyst Jamie Newberg. "Barnes, 6-0 and 180 pounds, plays defensive back, running back and returns kicks for Bunn (N.C.) High School.
"So what side of the ball will he play on at the next level? It's hard to say because he is good enough to play running back or safety in college. Barnes is a tough runner that hits the hole hard. He runs with power and finishes runs with power and authority. Barnes has good speed and looks to have excellent balance, vision and instincts."
"Defensively, he has a nose for the ball," added Newberg. "Barnes plays in coverage well and has a sense about where the ball is going to go. He breaks on the ball well too. Barnes is also good in run support. He is aggressive and can find the ball carrier in a hurry. Barnes is also good tackler that can make the big hit and the big play on defense.
"Overall he looks like an outstanding talent."
"The coaches at State say I'm going to play some tailback and flanker," said Barnes. "That is how they plan on using me right now."
He was the most highly recruited player in the state. With more than 30 offers, Barnes inked with the Wolfpack over programs such as Southern Cal, Florida, Florida State, Virginia Tech, Michigan, and Auburn.
There was certainly an early appeal to leave the state and play for one of those elite programs, but Barnes realized what he was looking for was just right down the road.
"It's unbelievable," he said. "In the beginning, I didn't think about State like that... I didn't know if it would be them. After I toured the campus and facilities and met the coaches, I thought about it long and hard and realized it was all I was looking for in a school.
|"I went with my gut, and I went with what I felt."|
"Plus it's only 40 minutes from my home, and my family can see me play. I went with my gut, and I went with what I felt. I think I made the right decision."
While at NC State's camp, Barnes had a chance to talk with Tobias Palmer, the Wolfpack's first verbal commitment in the class, and highly-regarded linebacker Terrell Manning. He stated that he has also been talking recruiting with Butler defensive back Eddie Whitley.
"Me and Tobias, we started it off and other guys are coming in behind us," said Barnes. "I think it is a big thing right now. I think we're going to have a big-time recruiting class."
Playing tailback and wide receiver, Barnes racked up more than 800 all-purpose yards and a dozen touchdowns on offense, and he added 77 tackles and five interceptions as a defensive back, while also chipping in two scores as a kick returner.
This year he expects to play much of the same role for Bunn.
"I want to keep my playmaking ability, but as a senior I'm going to go hard every play and make big plays every game," said Barnes. "That's been my focus. I want to go hard every play."