Philadelphia DE Deion Barnes leaves Michigan feeling special

Until recently Philadelphia hasn’t had the reputation of being known as a city that holds top-tier talent. That perception has recently starting to change with the emergence of such players as Je’Ron Stokes (Michigan), Sharrif Floyd (Florida) and now with Northeast HS DE Deion Barnes. In just a couple of months Barnes has gone from a sleeper recruit to being a highly recruited athlete. Prior to his trip to Michigan he held five offers from Penn State, Maryland, South Carolina, Virginia and Pitt. After visiting Ann Arbor for the Maize and Blue spring game he left with his sixth overall offer.

“I was very excited, I was waiting a long time for that day” said Barnes as he spoke about the Michigan offer he received from after the conclusion of the Spring Game. He may not have a clear leader but there are some variables that are playing into Michigan’s favor, “The tradition, the support they give and all the past players who have gone into the draft and have been successful” are all some factors that are helping Michigan’s case according to Barnes.

Even though he grew up an Ohio State fan, Barnes made the trip to Ann Arbor to unofficially visit and see what Michigan was all about. “It was a great trip I really enjoyed myself, I saw everything I always seen on TV which is very amazing”. During the trip Barnes was taken back by the whole experience. “The fans, The Big House, the atmosphere and to be in the biggest stadium in college football, it was all very exciting.

Barnes especially enjoyed the star treatment he received from the Michigan faithful, “the fans were very supportive to the recruits and there were eve fans asking for my autograph. Which I never have happened before but I felt special” said Barnes.

Prior to his visit Barnes had been in contact with some coaches but was able to meet face-to-face with some of the staff while he was in Ann Arbor. “I talk to Coach Braithwaite all the time and he, the defensive coordinator and defensive line coach said they loved my tape and couldn’t wait to coach me.”

Barnes was also able to speak directly to Head Coach Rich Rodriguez, “I had like a 10 minute talk with coach rod. He was just making sure I didn’t think he was trying to feed me things just to get me there. He was trying to get to know me and was telling me the ways he could use me on the field.” Michigan is looking at Deion as a defensive end and he was paying close attention at the spring game at the defense. “I seen sometimes they ran the 3-4 so i guess they're going to put in schemes where I can rush the passer.” Barnes enjoyed what he saw but wants to do more research and would like see how Michigan’s defense performs this season, “I’ll watch a couple games this year and see if the guys whose playing are successful in that scheme” said Barnes.

While in Ann Arbor he was able to see his old Northeast HS teammate and Philadelphia native, Michigan receiver Je’Ron Stokes. “Je’Ron and I have been cool since we played together, so we were basically just catching up. He wasn’t trying to recruit me but he was shedding light on why he went to Michigan and the good things Michigan has to offer.”

A few weeks ago he took an unofficial visit to Penn State with his football coach. The visit didn’t place Penn State in the forefront for his commitment but it helped open his eyes to what the Nittany Lions are all about, “Right now I like everybody but Penn State is recruiting me hard and I like them but I’m not going to say I am leaning towards anyone yet.”

With the recruiting year being young there is a lot of time for schools to gain a considerable advantage for Barnes recruitment. For now he is focusing on improving his skills and focusing on his senior season. Even with his recruitment heating up, Barnes hasn’t lost sight of what he is working for. He is committed to being a top player at the collegiate level, “For the coaches I would say you are getting a hard worker and someone who studies his craft and has a lot of football knowledge. A player that can hunt down the QB for four quarters” Barnes also had a message for those who are following his recruitment. “Others who follow me I would tell them I’m not just hype or a tools testing player. I’m a football player with football speed and can be very versatile on the field.”

Barnes plans on taking his time with his recruitment and isn’t looking to commit anytime in the near future. For now he is scheduled to visit Maryland this weekend and is working to prepare for his senior season at Northeast High School.


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