Rated a four-star prospect and the No. 14 safety in the nation by Scout.com, Brandon Barnes from Bunn (NC) High School was one of two NC State commitments invited to the inaugural Under Armour All-America game held in Orlando, Fla this past weekend.
Although he only carried the ball one time during the contest, Barnes didn't mind and came away in awe of the event itself and the talent he played with and against. In this Q&A Barnes talked with Pack Pride about the trip, his roommate in Orlando, Mike Glennon and his future at NC State.
PackPride: Talk about your week down in Orlando and what that was like for you personally.
"The whole week was a big highlight for me. It was amazing going down there and being around some of the best players in the country. It was just a good experience for me. Rooming with Mike (Glennon) on top of that was a great experience for me- getting to know him."
PackPride: What was it like down there when you weren't out playing football?
"They treated us well. We had a player's lounge that had big screen TV's, leather couches, game systems, X-Box 360's and stuff like that. They gave us a whole lot of Under Armour apparel like bags, wristbands, gloves, shoes, cleats, everything."
PackPride: Just a few weeks ago you participated in the Shrine Bowl. How big was the jump in talent from the Shrine Bowl to the Under Armour game?
"Yeah, it was a slight jump. It was different players from not just the Carolinas but from all over the country. It was a jump and I had to get used to it. The speed and the offense we were running, I had never ran that offense before but I caught on pretty quick and it worked out pretty good."
PackPride: Mike Glennon wasn't ranked as highly as some of the other QB's that were out there but he came away with player of the game honors. What were your impressions of the way Mike performed?
"I was very impressed with the way he played. I knew he was good but he was kinda under the radar a little bit because EJ (Manuel) and the other guys were getting all the pub. But he came out of nowhere and took home all the hardware. He got player of the game and won the skill's challenge and I was very impressed."
PackPride: How does it make you feel knowing Mike will be in the backfield with you?
"It makes me feel real good because I know that I've got someone to back me up."
PackPride: Was there anyone else out there that really jumped out at you as being a good player?
"One guy, he also played in the Shrine Bowl for the South Carolina team, that really jumped out at me was DaQuan Bowers. Another guy was AJ Green. They were pretty good at what they do. AJ, he's a phenomenal wide receiver and DaQuan, he's just a big dude. Nobody could block him. He's fast and big".
PackPride: When are you making your official visit to NC State?
"I'm taking my official visit this weekend (January 11th)."
PackPride: Is that plan for you to still start off at running back for NC State?
"So far, I think it is. They haven't told me anything different so I think that's where I'll be at."
With your high school career now officially over, how excited are you to get on with your college career at NC State?
"I'm very excited. I really liked Coach O'Brien he was one of the main factors why I chose NC State. He's a great coach and everyone saw that when Boston College rose up as one of the top schools in the country. Those were all his recruits. So that should tell you something right there... he knows how to recruit and he knows what he's doing."
Notes: Brandon Barnes is considered by some as the top prospect in the state of North Carolina. Capable of playing tailback, wide receiver, or safety on the next level, the four-star athlete can impact the game in a variety of ways. Recruited to play tailback at NC State, he started for North Carolina at safety in the 2007 Shrine Bowl.
Barnes chose the Wolfpack over offers from Southern Cal, Florida, North Carolina, Clemson, Virginia Tech, and Auburn among others.
Scouting Report #1: "Brandon Barnes is one of the top all around prospects I have seen so far among the Class of 2008. Barnes, 6-0 and 180 pounds, plays defensive back, running back and returns kicks for Bunn (N.C.) High School.
"Overall he looks like
an outstanding talent."
"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. 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." -- Scout.com Recruiting Analyst Jamie Newberg
Scouting Report No. 2: "Excellent eye-hand coordination, runs with power, and explodes through holes. Tremendous vision as a running back, seems to have great overall sense of the game. Expected to be recruited as an athlete, but there is no question in my mind that he is a running back all the way. Appears to be right at the listed 6-foot range, and plays with great leverage for his size. Not a cautious runner, but still feels his way behind his offensive line well and then finds daylight into the next level. Good hands out of the backfield. Impact player." -- Scout.com Recruiting Analyst Miller Safrit
S #6 Brandon Barnes - Shrine Bowl Video:
#5 RB/WR/S Brandon Barnes - Pigskin Kickoff:
Highlight Video 1 - Jr. Year #5 RB -
Highlight Video 2 - Jr. Year #5 RB -
Highlight Video 3 - Jr. Year #5 S/KR -
Highlight Video 4 - Jr. Year #5 S/KR -
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