Jason Barnes: Where else would a receiver go?

South Carolina is on track to sign one of the best wide receiver classes in the country this year. They added another gem to their class this week when Jason Barnes of Independence High School in Charlotte, NC, committed to the Gamecocks. Read inside for this exclusive interview with Jason and his parents.



When asked why he chose South Carolina over North Carolina, Jason Barnes said, "I chose USC because where else would a receiver go? Steve Spurrier has the perfect offense for a receiver and a quarterback. They throw the ball a lot. They don't have a lot of receivers, and they are looking for some receivers to come in and play early."

The 6'4" receiver said that what made him comfortable pulling the trigger at this time was "when My Mom and my Dad said after my in-home visit (with USC Coach Fred Chatham) that it would be all right for me to go ahead and do that. And my coach, he said it would be a good decision for me to go there." Jason said of his parents, "They've been waiting for me to make a decision for a long time. Now I finally did it, and everybody's happy."

When asked if the rumors that his parents were favoring USC all along were accurate, Alecia Hines, his mother, said, "Absolutely true. We just felt that that was a better opportunity for our son." When asked to comment on what made South Carolina stand out for her as a parent, she said, "On our visit, sitting in Steve Spurrier's office with Junior and Coach Spurrier himself, I was very impressed about the academic program that they had going on, and how they take very good care of their players to make sure they get an education. Education was just as important as them playing football, and that was very pleasing to me. They always told me that if my husband and I had any concerns that we could always call them personally if there were any type of problems or anything like that. I thought that was the winning point for me."

Jason's Dad was equally impressed with their visit with the USC coaches. Ray Hines said, "I just felt that they were being sincere when they spoke with us. They didn't promise us the world, that he was going to come in and play right away. They made sure they let us know that he was going to have to work and do the right things, but that they would give him the opportunity to play. They just made me feel comfortable being straightforward with me, instead of trying to promise him the world."

The work ethic factor appealed to both father and son. When asked what makes Jason unique, Hines said, "His work ethic. He puts in a lot of time trying to get better." When asked the same question about himself, Jason replied, "I work hard. Before practice, during practice, and after practice. I like to stay home, and get a lot of rest, go to practice, and get ready for the game on Friday."

As the recruiting process wore on, there was a clear perception that Jason was favoring North Carolina over South Carolina. When asked what USC did to put them on top, Jason replied, "They showed more interest. In the back of my mind, I always knew that South Carolina was the right place to go."

Jason's Dad talked about the game time atmosphere when they visited USC. "The fans showed a lot of excitement," he said. "I felt he deserved a chance to play in a big-time atmosphere like that. You know the SEC is the premier football conference, and I wanted him to experience something like that." Jason said the ability to play at USC against "top-notch competition" was a major attraction for him.

Jason's position coach at Independence High has a pretty good idea about what Jason will face playing for Coach Spurrier. Coach Steve Shipp himself played as a wide receiver for Spurrier at Florida. "Me and (Coach Shipp) are real close. He played under Spurrier, and he said whatever I do, I'm going to have to grow up quick. He said (going to South Carolina) would be a good decision for me, but that I would have to grow up and become a man quicker."

Barnes talked about his relationship with his recruiter at USC, Fred Chatham. "Me and Chatham got real close during the recruiting season," he said. "We've been talking a lot since June. He's a very good recruiting coach, and I can't wait to work with him. I talk to my position coach, Steve Spurrier Jr., a lot too. Usually I talk to Coach Chatham, and then he hands the phone to Junior. I talk to all three of them (including Head Coach Steve Spurrier, Sr.)"

When taking about his goals, Jason said, "My big goal for the year was putting up the stats to make it to the Shrine Bowl." He stated that the area he wants to improve upon is "I want to get faster. I know I run a 4.45 already, but I want to get down to a 4.3."


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