Barnes, Bunn Look Sharp in Scrimmage

WAKE FOREST, N.C. -- Because of the hot weather, Bunn's first scrimmage of the season was moved to Saturday morning, and the Wildcats didn't disappoint in the 2007 Pigskin Kickoff.

Bunn, led by NC State commitment Brandon Barnes, dominated Green Hope and held its own against 4A Millbrook.

"I feel pretty good about our team," Barnes said following the two-hour scrimmage. "We played really hard and we competed. I think we made some big plays. We're coming around."

Barnes started at wide receiver with potential D-I prospect Chris Fleurmont operating at tailback. Not wanting to show too much, Bunn head coach David Howle kept things simple.

"We're going to move Brandon around," said coach Howle. "We're going to get him a little more reps at wing back, but we didn't want to show everything. We're going to get him more touches then he got last year.

"We've been thinking of using Chris a little more at fullback and Brandon more at halfback. Brandon is just more explosive, faster around the edge."

In limited action, Barnes was able to flash his big-play capabilities. Unofficially, he tallied three catches for 48 yards (16 yards per catch) and a 26-yard touchdown at wide receiver. He also totaled four rushes for 71 yards (17.9 yards per carry).

Despite his offensive exploits, Barnes best position might be free safety. At 6-foot and 190 pounds, he is fluid, quick, and loves to hit. Today, he recorded three tackles and two pass breakups, and admits that he is very comfortable at the position.

"I feel comfortable out there," said Barnes. "I like free safety. I had a little stinger today, but I'm working that out. I feel like I did good."

"He's a great safety," coach Howle stated. "He closes on the ball... he banged up his shoulder early on, but he's okay. He's a great free safety, and we're going to keep moving him around. Brandon is a ball player."

This was just a scrimmage for Bunn, but you can tell the Wildcats are on a mission. Coach Howle's squad returns 13 starters off a team that finished 12-2 in 2006, and Barnes believes they could be even better in 2007.

"I think this is one of the best teams since I've been at Bunn," he said. "We've got a lot of depth. I think we've got a lot of potential."

Regarded by many as the top player in the state of North Carolina, Barnes maintained that he is firm in his commitment to NC State. The four-star prospect, who chose the Wolfpack over offers from Southern Cal, Florida, North Carolina, Clemson, Virginia Tech, and Auburn among others, smiled when asked what he thought of fellow top in-stater Terrell Manning committing to the Wolfpack.

"I was happy when I found out," said Barnes. "I knew he was going to do it. That's big... that's a big recruit for us to get."

Parting Shots
Bunn's top prospect in the 2009 class will likely be 6'3 offensive lineman Ty Howle, head coach David Howle's son. The junior impressed with his play at center and also along the defensive front and he will be one to watch in the 2009 class... Bunn opens the season August 24th at Southern Nash High School... Brandon Barnes has a little brother, Andrew, who will be a sophomore outside linebacker for the Wildcats. Coach Howle believes he could be the best athlete out of all their prospects.

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