Virginia Tech is one of over 30 programs to offer a scholarship to Richland Northeast (Columbia, S.C.) wide receiver/safety prospect Mark Barnes . Tech is under consideration here and is hoping Barnes will be able to take in the Hokies spring game this weekend.
“I haven’t visited Virginia Tech before, but I’m hoping to get up there this weekend for the spring game,” Barnes said. “I need to see if I’ll have a ride first.”
The 6-3, 190-pound Barnes plays split end and free safety for head coach Jay Frye. In his junior season, he made 31 receptions for 600 yards and five touchdowns. Defensively, he finished with 78 total tackles and made five interceptions. According to Barnes, most schools are recruiting him as an athlete.
“He has great hands and he goes up to get the ball,” Frye said. “He runs well. On defense, he’s a good tackler.”
Barnes had a breaking out moment in Richland’s first playoff game last season. It was in this game that he may have gone from being a good player to a top performer.
“I feel great about the way we came back after the loss to Spring Valley,” Barnes said. “We tried to make it an undefeated regular season, but Spring Valley beat us. From then on, I knew I had to step up. I was very comfortable in our first playoff game. I made some big plays and, from then on, I knew I could step up and make plays for our team. I knew I could lead other players on our team and I knew they could look to me to make plays.”
This off-season, Barnes is working on improving his strength and speed just like virtually every other prospect in the country. But, he is focusing heavily and primarily on his academics.
“Basically, raising my grades is my main focus right now,” Barnes said. “I think I could have even more offers if it wasn’t for my grades. I’m getting on top of those right now.”
In a report on PalmettoSports.com late last month, Barnes listed a top three of Louisville, Notre Dame and South Carolina. Barnes didn’t deny that he listed the top three, but indicated that he has decided to open things up for all interested programs.
“Right now, I’m not into narrowing my list,” Barnes said. “I did have a top 3, but me and my family felt it was too early. Right now, I’m just cleaning it up. Everybody is on the same level. I’m going to start off clean and give every school that has offered a chance.”
Barnes commented on what he knows and likes right now about Virginia Tech.
“Virginia Tech has a great head...
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