Harper's Barnas becoming a hot commodity

With the wide-open attacks that programs across the country are running, having a mobile quarterback is an essential part of being successful. Harper QB Garrett Barnas (6-1, 205) is one of the more athletic signal-callers in the country and he's already getting some looks from some BCS schools, on both sides of the ball.

Barnas starred on both sides of the ball for Bureau Valley High School in Manlius, Illinois and schools from the Big 10, mainly Iowa, were after him. However, even though he was a good student, he didn't have enough core classes to qualify for a D-1 scholarship, so it was on to a JC to continue his career.

"Basically, for a guy like me and where I lived, I had a choice of Joliet, Iowa Central, Dupage and Harper," Barnas recalled recently to JCFootball.com. "Harper's coaches were cool and I had a cousin already playing here and he told me about the program and how much fun it was. I couldn't be happier with my decision."

Last year, as a freshman, Barnas almost made what in retrospect would have been a big mistake.

"During fall camp, I was basically behind a really good quarterback and I was almost ready to ask the coaches if I could play safety because I wanted to play so badly," Barnas admitted with a slight chuckle. "But then, in the first game, on the third play, the guy ahead of me broke his arm and I was basically the starter after that."

In 10 games for Harper, Barnas completed 238 of 437 pass attempts -- a 54.5 completion percentage -- for 2,899 yards, 24 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He also led the Hawks with with 600 yards and nine touchdowns on the ground.

For his efforts he was named a Second Team All-American by the NJCAA and he received Honorable Mention All-American honors from JC Gridwire. He was also First Team All-Conference and All-Region as well.

"I had a good season, but there was a lot for me to work on this summer," Barnas said. "This year, I wanted to get bigger because last year I played at 190 and my goal is to play at about 205 and that's where I am now.

"It's also big for me to be more experienced in this offense and next year I don't want to take off running as soon as I did last year. I want to stay in the pocket and make plays with my arm, but I'll definitely continue to be a threat with my legs as well.

"Basically I've been focused on my footwork, my mechanics and my delivery because as a high school quarterback you can wind up and still get away with things. Here, players are too fast so we're working on my delivery and small things like that."

Barnas is an amazing athlete, notching 4.5 forty time, while benching 340 pounds and posting a 38-inch vertical.

On the recruiting front, Barnas has been hearing from several schools including the school that was the most interested in him coming out of high school.

"Iowa has been following me for a while," Barnas said. "They knew about me in high school and knew I headed to Harper and they just recently started talking to me again. They like me more at safety which is fine with me.

"South Florida's offensive coordinator has talked with me a couple of times and he said I fit into their system well.

"Syracuse is the other one that seems the most serious about me right now. They like me a lot and I think they might be close to offering me, but right now I'm not really sure about it."

Being such an accomplished quarterback, does Barnas have any thoughts about going to a four-year school and possibly being moved to defense?

"Honestly, I like both (safety and quarterback)," Barnas said. "I love to have the ball in my hands and to make plays and kinda play that chess match that you have at quarterback, but I love to get out there and hit and just react to things so safety would be cool as well.

"Syracuse and South Florida told me they like me at quarterback, especially Syracuse because they said they need more playmaking out of their quarterback position and that's really what they like that about me, but both of them told me if things don't work out at quarterback, then I could definitely move to safety with no problems."

Barnas has been hard at work in the classroom and said he's on pace to graduate in December so he can sign and enroll for spring quarter wherever he ends up and when he steps on campus he'll have three years to play two.

We'll continue to track Barnas' progress and update things as they change.

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