A pair of Lake Gibson (Lakeland, FL) junior prospects visited Blacksburg a week-and-a-half ago, and both prospects seemed to enjoy the experience. Of the two recruits – offensive lineman James Jones – Virginia Tech has offered one and is showing significant interest in the other.
Barnum and Jones were key pieces on a team that went 10-3 last season. Two of those losses came to eventual 5A state champion Lakeland. Barnum graded out at 84-percent at offensive tackle this past season, while Jones racked up close to 90 tackles including 12 sacks and 10 tackles-for-loss at defensive end.
“At 6-4, 265 pounds, he moves well,” Lake Gibson head coach Keith Demyer said of Barnum. Barnum saw time on both sides of the ball as a sophomore but only played offensive tackle this past season. “He has long arms. He is great at pass blocking and does an exceptional job of getting to the next level.
“James has great quickness off the ball. He is 6-2, 230 pounds. He is a 4.7 kid in the 40. He is a smart player. He’s real aggressive. He’s a hard worker…a real good practice player. He is just a great kid to be around. He can bench 380 pounds and he power cleans 325.”
Central Florida, Miami, South Florida and Virginia Tech have offered Barnum. South Florida has offered Jones, who the Hokies would like to evaluate more before deciding whether or not they will offer.
“What hurts James is that he is a little undersized at defensive end,” Demyer said. “He is undersized at 6-2, 230 pounds, but he makes up for it with power and speed.
“The Virginia Tech coaches want to come by in the spring and see him. I think they want to evaluate a little more.”
Barnum and Jones, accompanied by fellow Lakeland area stars T.J. Lawrence (WR/DB – Kathleen Senior HS) and Malcolm Johnson (WR – Bartow HS), visited Virginia Tech on Monday, March 26th. A coach in the area has family near Blacksburg, so he decided to take the prospects with him to visit. Both Barnum and Jones enjoyed their time at Tech.
“It was good,” Barnum said. “I enjoyed it. We walked around the campus and stuff and visited with some of the players like Brandon Flowers and Macho Harris. I liked the campus and I liked the environment.”
Said Jones, “Man, Virginia Tech was great to tell you the truth. It was the best visit I’ve been on so far. I’ve been looking for a college...
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