The 6-foot-5, 220-pound end from Northeast High has looked impressive at every event he has gone to since the end of the season, from TEST Sports Clubs Premier Showcase in February to Friday night's Annual BigTime Football Showcase at Rutgers. Barnes looked downright dominant against the overmatched offensive linemen at last week's event. While he didn't win the MVP award, several observers were noting that he looked like the best player among the defensive linemen.
Barnes admits this will probably be his last combine or showcase event as he wants to focus on getting ready for his senior season. He's been getting a feel for the recruiting process but said he won't be rushing into any decision and may in fact take it through to signing day.
I'm taking them all in, right now, Barnes said. I'm doing my research first.
While he knows that he has eight offers (including one from Penn State) and that a number of other programs (including Rutgers) are looking at his film, Barnes is hoping to see offers from Ohio State -- I just like their team -- and Miami.
I don't think I'm close to Miami [for an offer], you know, 'The U,' but I hope maybe I get one, Barnes admitted.
Barnes remembers getting the Penn State offer in the mail and not necessarily knowing what it was. Just a day prior to the offer, he had talked with one of the Nittany Lions' coaches who had told him that they maybe had 13 scholarships this year and that things might potentially be tight. The next day, he held the Penn State offer in his hands.
They were the first big name to offer me. I grew up watching Penn State, Barnes said. I used to watch them all the time. They are a program always in the top 10.
It also underscored the elite play of Barnes that a program like Penn State, with a limited number of scholarships available, would offer him. Despite all the attention being paid to him, Barnes said that his process is really wide open right now but he will base his decision on three things.
Obviously, I am looking at academics, but also the chance to play early and the stability of the program and the coaches there. I don't want them (the coaching staff) to leave, but I want them to be there the whole time I am there, Barnes said.