Barnes Visits USC, Sets Decision Date

Richland Northeast (Columbia, SC) 5-star safety/wide receiver prospect Mark Barnes is one of the top players on every college coach's wish list this recruiting season. However, Barnes has narrowed his list of schools down to South Carolina and Louisville, and he made his official visit to USC this weekend. Read inside to find out how that visit went and when he plans on making his decision.

Barnes, who weighs in at 6'3 and 195 pounds, joined several other prospects on campus this weekend for one of South Carolina's biggest recruiting weekend's of the year, and he thoroughly enjoyed his visit with the home town Gamecocks.

"Everybody had a good time. We all stuck together and had a good time. I had a lot of fun like usual," said Barnes. "I think we really touched base on the academics and stuff like that. I think we touched base on that real well. We weren't really looking too far into the future, we were just looking at today's progress as far as what I need to do to get into that school."

One prospect that Barnes enjoyed hanging out with in particular was running back Eric Baker, who Barnes used to play football with back in his middle school days.

"Eric Baker, that's my old buddy. We both played for Jefferson Middle School down in Jacksonville, Florida. We used to have fun all the time on the field and off the field, but on the field we were more competitive. We would basically push each other to the limit as far as doing better, not only for us, but for the team. We would motivate each other and stuff."

Barnes, who has maintained the Gamecocks as his slight leader over Louisville for the past several weeks, stated that he has now officially set a timeframe to make his decision.

"I will make my decision right after the Shrine Bowl game."

Barnes has also kept in touch with 4-star quarterback Stephen Garcia throughout the recruiting process. The two blue-chip recruits had considered announcing their college plans together, but with Garcia set to make his announcement this Wednesday, Barnes said they will now do their own thing.

"We're just going to do our own thing. We are going to have fun doing our separate things and then join together if we do end up going to the same school."

Gamecock Anthem Top Stories