Barnes a small-town gem

Groesbeck, Texas is home to one of the hidden gems from the 2013 class; Matthew Barnes. Barnes is starting to get interest from a few schools and will visit TCU this week.

Nestled in the tiny central Texas town of Groesbeck lies one of the best kept secrets for the 2013 recruiting class; fullback Matthew Barnes.

Barnes does a little bit of everything for the Goats from running, catching and even throwing the football on occasion totaling over 1,300 yards of total offense as a junior. This after he totaled nearly 1,000 yards of offense and scored 21 times as a sophomore, including a six touchdown performance against Palestine Westwood. It's no surprise that he's been named first-team district 20-3A for the last two seasons. Despite his efforts, Groesbeck suffered through a 2-8 season in 2011.

But, things could be changing quickly.

Just a month ago Groesbeck administrators named former San Angelo Central defensive coordinator Kodi Crane as their new head football coach. For Crane, it didn't take long for him to find out who the star would be at his new school.

"When I was interviewing for this job I watched the highlights on Hudl and seen him," Crane said. "They asked me what type of offense I was going to run and I said I don't know but #10 is going to have the ball, I'm not stupid.

"He's got great size and he could potentially put on some weight and play different positions and Matt in my opinion is just a shell of what he's fixing to be. He's fixing to be one of the best. He's kind of going under the radar; he's gotten a lot of letters from different people. He's a good kid, once his name gets out there a little more he's going to be a little bit of a commodity.

"We had him at 227 the last time we weighed and the 6-foot-3 is the same. He ran a 4.65 (forty) handheld but that was on grass and into a pretty good wind. I think with his size and speed I think he could develop into a college linebacker."

Among the schools showing Barnes interest thus far are SMU, Baylor, Air Force, Illinois, Utah, Georgia Tech and most recently, TCU. Barnes is scheduled to visit TCU for a Frogs practice in the coming week.

For Barnes, the interest he's received from the various programs in his words is a blessing. He'd always dreamed of having the opportunity to play college football, now that dream looks closer to becoming a reality.

"It's just a blessed situation, I never really knew I had a chance like this," Barnes said. "I always thought about it but I never knew it was a chance. It makes me feel really good and makes me want to work even harder."

The chance to play offense, more particularly at slot or tight end, is intriguing to Barnes. However, while he prefers offense, he's open to play wherever he can for the chance to play at the next level.

Crane says Barnes' versatility will afford his staff many ways to get him involved on both offense and defense in 2012.

"He's going to start off as a slot receiver and will move into the backfield as well and that's for a multitude of reasons," Crane said. "That's where he can help us the most. He didn't play defense much last year but I see him starting out as a weak safety for us."

Barnes scheduled visit to TCU was arranged earlier this week. Barnes last visited TCU's campus last summer at a one day camp but this will be his first visit as an invited recruit. In fact, it's his first visit as an invite to any campus, but it certainly won't be his last.

The rising prospect hopes to see a similar type of work ethic that he puts in every day at Groesbeck.

"I've been thinking about visiting A&M but this one will be my first visit," Barnes said of TCU. "I want to see their work ethic and how they play and the difference between me and their attitudes and how they do up there."

Texas and Baylor have been the two teams he's been a fan of the most, however he says he'll go anywhere to play college ball. The Frogs' success has opened Barnes' eyes in the past few years and knows he fits the type of player TCU has recruited to help them have that success.

"I know they did good in their season and they try to recruit people that are big and stuff that are similar to my form," Barnes said.

Groesbeck has won eight games the previous two seasons. For Barnes, his mission for his senior season is to help the Goats back to the playoffs, and become more of a leader while doing so.

"I want to take my team far in the playoffs. I want to win state, that's always been a dream for me," he said. "I want to be a leader, I haven't always been one."

Barnes plans to be busy this summer with plans to visit Texas A&M, Florida (where he has family), Baylor, Texas Tech and TCU.

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