Tom O'Brien has wasted little time flexing his strength as a recruiter at N.C. State. The Wolfpack had already received commitments from two ESPN 150 Watch List prospects, tight end Mario Carter (Charlotte/Independence) and athlete Tobias Palmer (Pittsboro, N.C./Northwood) and received a new commitment from Brandon Barnes (Bunn, N.C.) on Tuesday. Barnes is currently regarded as one of the top, versatile offensive skill players in the country by ESPN.
"[N.C. State] did a great job recruiting him, and I do think he will fit well in their offense, but it came down to some other important factors for Brandon," said Bunn High School head coach David Howle.
"The fact that Brandon could have his mom, dad and grandparents see him play meant a great deal. They are a very close family."
Barnes is a legitimate dual-threat as a running back or wide receiver. He is a slashing runner who blends good vision, body control and balance. The fluid athlete possesses great hands and wastes little motion plucking the ball in stride and transitioning quickly up-field. He is most dangerous in the open field with his great quickness and elusiveness. Barnes' true straight-line speed and second gear may be his only physical question marks-- but he is a pure playmaker with the ball in his hands.
Offensive coordinator Dana Bible's one-back scheme which focused on running back production during his coaching career at Boston College with O'Brien should greatly complement Barnes' game and may have helped steer the athletic weapon to the Heights.
Barnes had narrowed down his choices to Auburn, Clemson, Virginia Tech and N.C State before making his decision.
Howle was quick to note that N.C. State is creating a great recruiting buzz among North Carolina high school players and coaches about building its program with the best in-states players each year.
Billy Tucker is a recruiting coordinator for Scouts Inc.