Barnett Makes Most Of "Mini-Combine"

Ohio State fifth-year safety C.J. Barnett did not get invited to the NFL combine but made the most out of his "mini-combine" - the annual Ohio State Pro Day at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center.

The lead-up to Pro Day is usually a nerve-wracking experience for former members of the Ohio State football team. C.J. Barnett was no exception.

Fellow former OSU safety Kurt Coleman, who plays for the NFL's Philadelphia Eagles and also like Barnett is a product of Clayton (Ohio) Northmont High School in suburban Dayton, advised Barnett to get about 10 hours of sleep Thursday night – the night before Friday's Pro Day at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center.

It didn't happen.

"I couldn't really sleep," Barnett said. "I work up around 1 o'clock, 2 o'clock – I kept waking up just thinking and dreaming about (Pro Day). It was very important, so it was on my mind."

Barnett had a little extra pressure going into Pro Day because he was not selected to participate in the NFL combine, which was held in February in Indianapolis. That meant Barnett would get only one chance to impress NFL scouts and general managers – in Columbus Friday morning.

Fortunately for the third-team All-America selection by CBSSports.com, the pressure and lack of sleep did not negatively affect performance. Barnett. He was pleased by his 4.46-second time in the 40-yard dash, his 37 ½-inch vertical jump and the 22 bench press reps he did of 225 pounds.

"I think it went well," a smiling Barnett said. "All the numbers I was shooting for, I surpassed them. I've been training for the past two months. Ever since the Orange Bowl, I've been training for this.

"It feels good that it paid off."

Barnett was especially pleased by his 40 time.

"I felt like coming in there was a lot of doubt about my speed, so I thought it was a big deal to come here and run in the 4.4s. It was important I show that."

Barnett took a positive attitude into Friday's festivities, calling his Pro Day experience a "mini-combine." He did not make it to Indianapolis, but he wanted to make the most of his shot at the WHAC to impress scouts and general managers in attendance.

"I couldn't control if I got invited to the combine or not," Barnett said. "I was kind of down that I didn't, but I had to make do best with the opportunity that I had. Pro Day was here. Being at Ohio State and having so many guys here, we get a lot of attention. This is kind of a mini-combine with all of these scouts and GMs here. I got the opportunity that I needed."

As for his future, Barnett said he is willing to play any position asked by a NFL team – strong safety, free safety, nickel back or special teams.

The 6-1, 204-pounder said teams should want him because he is a leader, playmaker and a "great locker room guy." Barnett is focused on football and making his professional dreams happen, but he does have a solid back-up plan. He already has his degree with a major in criminology/sociology and has interest in law enforcement.

But it's still all-football for now.

"I think I need 100 percent put into football to get the results I need," Barnett said.


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