|School:||Martinsburg, Wv. (Martinsburg HS)|
Two years ago Penn State went down to Martinsburg, Wv. to sign current Nittany Lion redshirt freshman Steve Roach. Next February, the coaching staff would love land the signature of another Martinsburg HS star, wide receiver Brandon Barrett.
Last season, Brandon was a "Mr. All-Everything" for Martinsburg (12-1 record), catching 71 passes for 1350 yards and 26 touchdowns on offense, while snatching 13 interceptions, returning 5 for touchdowns on defense. To top it all off, Brandon also rushed for two touchdowns, threw for one, returned a kickoff and punt for touchdowns, scoring a total of 212 points. He also handled the team's punting responsibilities.
According to Martinsburg's head coach, David Walker, his philosophy regarding Brandon is quite simple.
"He doesn't come off the field"
Brandon certainly impressed his share of important people with his play, winning both the prestigious Kennedy award, given to West Virginia's top player, and West Virginia's Gatorade Player of the Year. He has also been named 1st Team All-State as both a junior and sophomore, as well as 2nd Team All-State as freshman.
His on-the-field accolades have also caught the attention of some major division one schools. Coach Walker said that he's received requests for film from just about every school along the eastern sea board, including Maryland, Penn State, Ohio State, Pittsburgh, Georgia, Syracuse, Duke, etc. Only West Virginia and Marshall have currently offered, but with a list of potential suitors a mile long, Coach Walker believes it will only be a matter of time before more offers roll in.
Coach Walker feels that Brandon's best football is ahead of him because he has not completed his physical maturation yet.
"Each year he has gained weight. As a freshman he was 135 pounds. As a sophomore he was 160, and then this year he played at right about 190 pounds."
At this time, Coach Walker feels that receiver is his best position and most schools agree, preferring Brandon on the offensive side of the ball. What does Coach Walker believe are his star player's strengths?
"He has the ability to make people miss, always comes up with big plays, and he's real consistent. He just does a lot of natural things. He's got great hands and just goes up and gets the ball. He has so much natural ability."
With so much interest from schools all over the map, does Brandon have one particular school that he has mentioned to Coach Walker as really standing out above the rest?
"To be honest with you, I'm really not sure what he's leaning to. He's just concentrating on playing basketball and doing well in school. I don't know what his thoughts are as far as where he's leaning. He's just taking it all in and weighing his options."
The Nittany Lions have been in contact with Coach Walker about Brandon, who attended summer camp at Penn State last summer.
"They requested film and invited him to camp. We had a kid who went up there last year (Steve Roach), so we know those guys pretty well and they've known about [Barrett] for a couple years."
"I've talked to Coach Carter on the phone and he came by on his way through."
"Last year he went to Penn State's camp, but I don't know what he's going to do this summer. He went to the University of Virginia for their junior day. He's been invited to Ohio State's, Pitt's, and Maryland's junior days, but with being hit so hard with the snow, he hasn't gone anywhere else."
***Note*** - When LionNews originally spoke with Coach Walker, only in-state schools, West Virginia and Marshall had offered Brandon scholarships. However no more that an hour after the initial interview, Coach Kenny Carter called to inform him that Brandon has a Penn State offer on the table.
According to Coach Walker, "They were going to send Brandon an official letter that they were offering him and he would be back in touch with me."
How does Brandon himself, see his recruitment shaping up?
"I have offers from West Virginia, Marshall, and Penn State just offered today (March 3)."
Has Brandon seen any college campuses yet?
"I've seen Virginia, West Virginia, Penn State and Marshall so far."
Did he enjoy his time at Penn State for the Nittany Lions summer camp?
"It was all right. It was a lot of just going over the basics. But we met the whole staff. That was the best part of the camp I guess."
Does Brandon have any interest in the Nittany Lions?
"It's up there because last year we had a lineman (Roach) go there. We've talked a couple times about how it was. He said he liked it, it's a good place, they treat you well."
"I do really like the campus and their facilities."
Like Coach Walker stated, Brandon has not really been able to travel to see any campuses with the brutal winter that has been griping the nation. Does he have any plans for the spring to go and check out places that he's never been?
"Hopefully. I don't have any visits planned but I would like to go to a couple more places."
One place that Brandon will going for sure is to the Penn State Nike Camp on April 27th.
"My quarterback (sophomore Nate Sowers) and I are going, he got invited too."
Coach Walker mentioned what he feels are Brandon's strengths as a football player, but what does Brandon see as his number one key to succeeding on the field?
"I try to run precise routes; coach says if I run precise routes, I'll get open. So I just try to keep that in mind."
Did Brandon grow up favoring any school?
"I grew up liking Ohio State. So far, they've sent questionnaires. I just like football though. I just watch it all"
People certainly enjoy watching Brandon play football and with the caliber of schools already trying to get him, it should be fun watching his recruitment evolve.
(Interviews by Steve Curry)