"My coaches have helped me a lot," Barber said. "In middle school, you just fly around and you just hit people and just try to go after the ball. They taught me schemes [and] reads."
Last season, Barber recorded 148 tackles (91 solo), including 16 for a loss, two forced fumbles, and an interception. The 6-foot-2, 218-pounder posted 103 tackles (38 solo), including ten for a loss and three sacks as a sophomore, and 138 tackles, including 11 for a loss and two sacks, and two forced fumbles as a freshman.
"He's a football player," Illing said. "He plays downhill, he plays sideline-to-sideline, and he plays on the other side of the line-of-scrimmage."
Off the field Barber also excels, which helps on-the-field.
"He's a top quality individual with a great work ethic," Illing said. "You don't have to chase him into the weight room, you don't have to chase him to school, [and] you don't have to talk to him about being good in the community. He's the first one in the weight room and is going to be the last one to leave. He's going to be the one that gives 110-percent at every practice."
Davie employs a multiple 4-3/4-2 defense.
"[Barber] hunkers down with everything inside on the run," Illing said. "He gets pass rush blitzes as well. He's calling our defense from our [defensive coordinator's] direction. He's the quarterback on the field when the defense is out there."
Barber also contributes on nearly every special teams unit.
In the past, Davie County hasn't used a tight end in its spread offense. This coming season that will change and Barber is the top candidate to play the position.
"We feel like with his strengths, his athleticism, [and] his toughness we can take advantage of having him on offense," Illing said.
Illing says the tight end will be used primarily as a blocker but will have the opportunity to catch passes.
A couple of weeks ago, NC State became the first school to offer Barber a scholarship. Wake Forest followed suit a week later.
"[Wake Forest] had my sophomore film and they thought it was my junior film," Barber explained. "Once they found out they had my sophomore film, they got my junior film and offered me."
Besides his two offering schools, Barber is receiving interest from Cincinnati, Clemson, East Carolina, Georgia Tech, Duke, Illinois, Maryland, North Carolina, Penn State, South Carolina, Virginia, Virginia Tech, and West Virginia
Barber, who aims to make a verbal commitment before his senior year, doesn't claim any favorites.
"Right now I'm open," Barber said. "State and Wake are obviously big because they have offered. But I'm open right now. I'm trying to find out what the coaches want me to play and how the academics are."
Every school is recruiting Barber as a linebacker. Most project him as an inside guy, but there are some that like him on the outside.
Barber attended junior days at Duke and NC State. He was invited to UNC's Junior Day in February, but the snowy weather prevented him from making the trip.
"[UNC] wants to continue to evaluate [Barber] before they put an offer out there," Illing said. "He's in the mix of some great athletes that they're looking at, at that position."
This summer, Barber is considering camping at Michigan, Penn State, and West Virginia.
"[Attending its camp] will give me an opportunity to see those schools," Barber said. "I've seen them play on TV [and] I've actually been up to Penn State to see them play. I just like the way they play defense – they play hardnosed."
Besides Penn State, Barber attended games at Duke, Kentucky, UNC, NC State, and Virginia Tech last fall.