Gilmer is one of the perenial East Texas powers and sports at least two 2014 Division 1 college prospects on its defense..
A few weeks ago we wrote about 2014 LB Josh Walker, who is expected to be one of the top linebackers in the state in 2014.
Gilmer has a second 2014 Division 1 prospect in safety Tanner Barr (6-0, 165, 4.7).
Starting as a sophomore for 14-1 Gilmer, Tanner grabbed and eye-catching 10 interceptions to go along with 38 tackles, earning Tanner TSWA 2nd Team All-State DB and the prestigous Tyler Courier-Times—Telegraph All-East Texas Newcomer of the Year honors.
Tanner is quite modest about the 10 interceptions, telling the Longview News-Journal “Most of them are because of what someone else did. It’s because someone else got to their quarterback.”
But others in Gilmer would disagree. Star linebacker Josh Walker and head coach Jeff Traylor said at least half of Tanner’s interceptions are because of plays he made on his own.
“Tanner has a great instinct,” Jeff Traylor said. “He makes the right breaks on the ball when it’s in the air, or before the quarterback throws it.”
Tanner's dad is Gilmer defensive coordinator Todd Barr and Tanner grew up around Gilmer's field house and this contributed to Tanner's ability to step in as a sophomore and lead the Gilmer secondary.
“He’s been at the fieldhouse his whole life,” coach Traylor said. “So we knew he had a knack for the game.”
Tanner cites his strengths as "just knowing the game and understanding it."
One of Gilmer's toughest games in 2011 was a last-second 39-36 win over district rival and defending state champ Carthage.
When asked what Tanner what he remembered about that game, he said "That game was crazy, Carthage was an unbelievable team to play. They are very well coached and are extremely disciplined.. They play hard just like us."
Carthage's star player was WR/DB Ed Pope who signed with Texas A&M in February. That night the future Aggie had 8 catches for 87 yards and 1 TD, a 25-yard reverse for a TD, and stared at safety. Tanner said "Ed Pope was the best receiver I faced all year, he had a lot of sportsmanship and made many plays."
Gilmer just completed its Spring practice, and Tanner said "Spring went very well for me, I got a lot better. We have a lot of learning and spots to fill but we work as a team and can do it."
Tanner is in the competition to fill Gilmer's QB position this season, but says he is "willing to play wherever and whenever to help our team preform to our best."
When I asked Tanner his favorite NFL or college player, he respnded "Tim Tebow is my idol.. How we play isn't very similar but he is a great player in the field and a great man off the field."
Growing up Tanner says he loved LSU, but is now open to all interested colleges.
When I asked Tanner if he had a favorite conference he said "I like the SEC.. Because they have many great players and they play hard. Many great teams also and very exciting."
Tanner said he has an interest in Texas A&M, has been there for a 7 on 7 tournament the past two summers, and "hopefully we will be there for the 7 on 7 state tournament" this summer.
Tannner said that when making his college choice, "I will look for a coaching staff that will be willin to make me work and get me better, and also a good program."
I asked Tanner how he can top his super sophomore season, and he said "All I can do is work harder and help get the team better, and maybe I can get All-State and improve the stats next year."
In closing, Tanner said "I am willing to work and do whatever it takes to make my team succeed."
Tanner was No. 39 in our Aggie Websider Texas Top 50 for 2014, based largely on his outstanding sophomore productivity and honors.
Tanner has the knowlege and natural playmaking skills. If Tanner can add about 20 pounds and improve his speed, both of which we;d expect over the next year, Tanner has a chance to be one of the top safeties in the state in 2014.
The Aggie Websider will continue to follow the recruitment of Tanner Barr with interest.