Remember the name Jason Barnes Jr. This young man has been lighting up receiving camps across the Gulf States all summer long, taking home numerous awards and trophies as the top recruit coming from the camp. He’s been giving DB’s fits in coverage. “They usually get one.” says Barnes. “Then when they see what I can do there’s normally a lot more cushion.” It is true Barnes might be overlooked by his short stature, however, the 5’8″ receiver, from University Lab in Baton Rouge, La. more than makes up for it with his high 4.3 to 4.4 40 speed and his precision route running ability. Barnes gets on his defender in a hurry, he closes the distance between the two quickly. Then he has the innate ability to create separation between himself and his defender, where you’re left scratching your head wondering how he did that. This young man currently has a 3.2 GPA and an 18 on the ACT.
When did you start playing football?
I started playing flag football when I was around four or five. That was for a youth league on a Marine Corps base in California. Then I started playing tackle football when I was about eight. That was for the Louisiana Longhorns, and that was a BREC league team.
Growing up did you play any other positions, or have you always played receiver?
I pretty much played everything. I played running back, receiver, corner, and a little quarterback sometimes.
Which position did you like the most?
Probably running back, because most teams back then didn’t really throw the ball a lot, so it was mostly run.
What do you love about football?
The excitement, the fans, the atmosphere, and the grind of getting to where you need to be to accomplish your goals.
I know that you’re running track, but did you play any other sports growing up?
I played basketball and soccer. I’m not playing soccer anymore, but I’m still playing basketball. I play point guard for that. And I’ve been doing Tae Kwon Do for about three years.
What events are you doing for track?
I’m doing the 4×100, the 4×200, the 4×400, and the open 200.
What style of play best describes you?
I would say my elusiveness, my quickness. My vision, and the way I catch the ball too.
Speaking of catching the ball, you did pretty well at the Bayou Elite, and the Louisiana Elite Prospect camps. I believe you took home MVP honors from both those camps, tell me about those.
I think I did really well in those two camps; executing my routes and the precision in my routes. I don’t think I dropped any balls either day. So, that’s really good, they were pretty good camps for me.
I know this was a COVID season, but going back to last season, what were some of your goals?
Well, for one we just wanted to have a chance to play. Secondly, I really wanted to have over 600 yards receiving. I didn’t get a chance to really prove myself sophomore year so I had to step up a lot last year.
Who would you say are some of your biggest influences?
Definitely my mom and my dad. They helped me a lot to get to where I need to be. It could be with sports, school, life, anything. My grandma, she helps me a lot too.
What do you think is a strength in your game play?
I would say my speed. A lot of people are worried about my speed, so once they see that they try to adjust and get back. Then that’s when I come back and hit them with a slant route and get a bunch of space. I don’t fold under pressure either. I like having all eyes on me. I want the ball in my hands when the game’s on the line.
Speaking of having that pressure on you, and all that attention; do you think attitude is a factor in winning?
You have to have the right attitude and the right mindset to be successful. You can’t have a lousy or bad attitude and be successful. But if you are positive about it, and stay focused and keep your head in the game, you’re going to be successful.
What does being successful mean to you?
Being better than what you were before that event. So in a game, doing anything to help your team get better. Even in a loss, there are still positives to learn from and your team can get better.
On a scale of 1-10 what is your ideal game day performance?
I would say about an eight. I don’t think there is anything as a perfect game. We all make mistakes sometimes. But, as long as we all stay focused and continue to have a positive attitude we can continue to try to be perfect.
At the end of this season and this year, what would you want your coaches and teammates to say about you?
That I was a hard worker, that I always stayed positive, and tried to cheer everybody up. I was a good leader, and a great teammate.