Barnett Has Tools To Be Lockdown Corner

This week Ohio State offered in-state junior cornerback C.J. Barnett of Clayton Northmont. His coach told us what makes Barnett a prospect and how he compares to current Buckeye starter and former Thunderbolt Kurt Coleman.

Kurt Coleman and C.J. Barnett have a few things in common. Both are defensive backs, both have suited up in the green and gold of the Clayton Northmont Thunderbolts and now both have been offered scholarships by Ohio State.

T-bolt head coach Lance Schneider said that is about where the similarities end, however.

While Coleman, a sophomore at OSU who just finished his first full year as a starter, is a play-making safety renowned for his hitting, Barnett, a member of the class of 2009, is a corner who hangs his hat on coverage.

At 6-1 with long arms, Barnett is actually more reminiscent of a different Buckeye: junior corner Malcolm Jenkins.

Both are the same height and Schneider believes Barnett will eventually weigh somewhere in the neighborhood of Jenkins' currently listed 202 pounds. Barnett is around 180 now. Coleman is listed at 5-11, 187.

"He's a good football player and I knew they'd been interested in him for some time now," Schneider told of Barnett. "He's got a lot of thickening up to do that I think is going to come with maturity.

"Kurt is a more physical kind of a player than CJ. CJ doesn't mind hitting but, Kurt is a special-type guy that's more of a safety and CJ is a little bit better cover guy than Kurt was all together."

Ohio State safeties coach Paul Haynes first inquired with Schneider about Barnett last spring, and OSU coaches got another look at the prospect when his team took part in a seven-on-seven passing camp at Ohio State in June.

Barnett followed that up with a junior season in which he intercepted three passes and recovered two fumbles for the 7-4 Thunderbolts, who won the North division of the Greater Western Ohio Conference and qualified for the Division I playoffs.

The year's worth of attention culminated in a written offer Ohio State recruiting coordinator John Peterson told Schneider would be in the mail as of Wednesday.

Although Barnett has been exclusively a defender for Northmont to this point, Schneider said he expects to use him as a receiver as well next season in the coach's pass-happy spread offense.

"He actually came into our program as a quarterback, but I saw that his best chance of getting to the level was going to be at defensive back," Schneider said.

"He's a very good cover guy. With those long arms he played a lot of press-man coverage and just gets on guys and doesn't let them off the line of scrimmage. That's kind of what they're looking for in a corner, a guy that has those long arms so even if he does get beat he can recover because he can get his hand in there and make a play."

Aside from his exploits on the football field, Barnett is a 4.0 student, a member of the T-bolt basketball team and figures to run track this spring.

"He's pretty smart and uses that to his advantage as well," Schneider said.

The coach also said he has had inquiries about Barnett from Stanford, and he expects the Buckeye offer to bring in a number of additional offers.

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