Position: Defensive End
Size: 6-5, 241
Year: Senior, 3-year lettermen
High School: Friendswood
Hometown: Friendswood, Texas
Recruitment: Coming out of high school, Barnes was an All-District selection, a first-team All-Region recipient and an honorable mention All-State selection as a senior. The Friendswood native was however unranked by Scout.com and held only one offer from Air Force. Instead of accepting a scholarship to the Air Force, the scrawny, then 215-pound Barnes accepted a walk-on spot at SMU. At Friendswood, Barnes played both inside and outside linebacker, until he finally found a home on the outside his senior year. Barnes was an afterthought, but after his redshirt season, Barnes started to make a name for himself.
2013 Review: Barnes has progressed each season since first stepping onto the Hilltop in 2010, and 2013 was his best campaign yet. After recording 16 tackles and one sack in 2012, the former walk-on made big strides in 2013, recording 45 tackles, 5 sacks and 13 tackles for loss (all career bests). Barnes did struggle with consistency at times, and he struggled to get to the quarterback when the opponent’s offensive line keyed on him. The rising senior has yet to put together an entire season, but 2014 could be the year he does it. Barnes came into his own in 2013 and showed he can be the leader of the defense.
2013 Grade: A-
Outlook in 2014: Barnes, now a senior, will continue his role as the leader of the defense and a key leader in the locker room. Barnes’ numbers have been on the rise, and they should be even better than his 2013 numbers. The defensive end uses a combination of strength, size and quickness to help maintain his position on the edge and disrupt the opposing offense in the backfield. With SMU’s entire defensive line returning, expect the group to be one of the strong points for the 2014 Mustangs, and now that Zach Wood and Darrian Wright have a year of experience under their belts, Barnes won’t have to carry the line by himself.
The key for Barnes this season will be to perform on a consistent basis. In glimpses, Barnes has shown he can be a dangerous pass rusher, but last season his five sacks came over just a three-game stretch. If Barnes can rack up 8-10 sacks, he could just score all-conference honors.