The last time NC State landed a player from Davie County High School in Mocksville it was linebacker Pat Lowery back in 2002. Ironically, the Wolfpack has it’s eye on another Davie linebacker. This time it’s hard-hitting Jared Barber, a rising senior that has quietly emerged as one of North Carolina’s top prospects.
Checking in at 6-1, 220 pounds, Barber impresses physically and he matched that with some stellar play as a junior. He finished off 2009 with 149 tackles, one interception, two sacks, six forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries and 26 tackles for loss on the way to all-conference and all-region honors.
Loves to hit
Barber is a solid tackler and locals know how nasty he can be on Friday nights. He feels his attitude on the field will serve him well once he gets to the next level.
“All of the colleges that are recruiting me want me as a middle linebacker. They want me to be the run stopper. I like to hit people and to be the middle linebacker, you’ve got to be willing to get in there and be a little nasty with those offensive linemen and that’s what I try to do.”
NC State hosts Barber for junior day
Although he had made a previous trip to NC State for their contest with Maryland, junior day on Sunday provided Barber his first up close look at the Wolfpack’s football program. He talked with Pack Pride about the visit.
“They showed me all the facilities,” said Barber. “I got to spend some time with the head coach. We also got to take a bus through campus and see what’s going on there. We walked a little bit and saw the buildings.
“We came back to the stadium and got an academic presentation, kind of what every football player goes through academically. We closed the day with meetings with our meeting coaches. They showed us State’s base defense and what they expect from us.”
Tenuta makes an early impression
Junior day was newly hired LB coach Jon Tenuta’s first unofficial event with NC State and he made a solid impression on Barber.
“I met with coach Tenuta and he said, ‘it’s my first day, it’s your first day, so we can learn as one.’ He just told me what he expects, that he wants a downhill guy that sees the ball and goes to get the ball. He said if you can’t go get the ball then you can’t play here but they did offer me so they believe I can play at this level.
“It was definitely nice to meet him so if I do decide to go to NC State, I know I’ll be working with a great coach that’s sent a lot of players to the next level.”
Other schools lurking?
“After I got the offer from State, I called coach Illing, the head coach at Davie and he called Wake Forest, Carolina and Duke and it kind of opened their eyes that NC State had offered.
“So Duke, they’re probably going to offer me soon, as well as Carolina. Wake Forest had said they wanted me to come to camp and if I ran a 4.6, they’d take me. But coach said since I got the offer from State I probably wouldn’t have to go to camp. But other than those schools I’m hearing from Kentucky, Illinois, Stanford, UCLA and Georgia Tech.”
Nittany Lion fan
Although from North Carolina, Barber admitted that Penn State was one of the schools that stuck out to him when he first started keeping up with football several years ago. He stated that he loves the Nittany Lion’s throwback style and linebacker history.
“I grew up a fan of Penn State. One day I was watching some football and I saw Penn State and watched how they played. They are an old school style team and I consider myself to be an old school type player. They also have a good tradition of putting out linebackers.”
“Obviously NC State is definitely in there being close to home. My mom and dad went with me to the Maryland game and my dad went with me to junior day and that first offer is important. But, if I had to say, in no particular order it would be Penn State, NC State, West Virginia and Michigan.
Hoping for an early decision
Barber is interested in seeing what other schools decide to offer but added he’d be perfectly okay with just his offer from the Wolfpack. In a perfect world, he’d like to have his college decision out of the way before the start of his senior season.
“I would like to see what schools decide to offer and then figure out which position they want me to play and stuff like that.
“But if things work out and I get some offers or I don’t get anymore offers- take State for instance. If I visit there a couple more times and feel comfortable, ideally I’d like to do something before my senior year. It would be nice just to focus on football for my senior year. That would definitely be ideal but it’s a lot of thinking that goes in to it so we’ll see.”NOTE: Barbed emailed Pack Pride late Wednesday night that he just received an offer from Wake Forest.