What makes a 6-foot-3, 275-pound offensive lineman pick Navy over Air Force? According to one Texas…
Barbour Has Bright Future at Navy
"He's the type of kid you love to coach," said Louisville Male headman Chris Wolfe. "He is a leader. He's not a selfish kid but really a selfless kid, and he's one of those guys that the other guys on the team look up to."
"He is a great role model," Wolfe added.
And not a bad athlete either.
At 6-foot-1, 180-pounds, Barbour was a First-Team All District defensive back selection last year in the highly competitive 6-A classification of Kentucky prep football. Going against teams like the nation's second ranked team in Trinity, Barbour also led Male as its triple option quarterback. With an eye towards attending an academically challenging university and playing the highest level of collegiate football, it's no wonder his college decision came down to Navy and Air Force, with the fomer eventually winning out for his services.
"I took visits to both places, but just the atmosphere and the people (at Navy) felt more comfortable to me," Barbour said. "It's basically an east coast versus west coast environment, and I just felt more comfortable at Navy."
The honor roll student continued, saying, "It's an Ivy League type education. It's something I'm excited for, because I know the opportunities it's going to present for me."
Those opportunities should come not only after graduation, but on the field at Navy. Barbour, who had 66 tackles, five pass breakups, and an interception in 2011, was recruited by Navy to join coordinator Buddy Green's secondary. According to his head coach at Male, the Annapolis-bound senior has the right mixture of on-field intelligence and physical skills to be an impact college safety.
"He fits the mold for a safety," said Wolfe. "He's very bright and can set coverages. He's very physical and very rangy, and he is a perfect safety. After seeing that it's obvious to me that that's where his future is at. I think it's a good fit for him."
Wolfe, who has been a head coach for 14 years and sent nearly a dozen players to the Division I ranks, said Barbour should thrive in Navy's system thanks to his unique experience and leadership in Male's defense.
"We ran a 4-2-5, and in our ‘Robber' coverage the free safety is basically like another linebacker," explained Wolfe. "He has an offensive line key, so he actually fits at the line of scrimmage and is a fast-read player on a run. (Lorentez) was great at it. He tackles high – he's not one of those safeties that comes in and tries to take you out at the ankles – he comes up and tackles like a linebacker."
While Barbour excels against the run, Wolfe said his star player was equally as stout against the pass, and credited Barbour with aligning his defense on a regular basis.
"He's great at coverage because he understands passing concepts. We ran a lot of different coverages he would automatically check to based on formations, and even when the linebackers would get confused he would get the linebackers set," Wolfe said.
Navy's scheme was something that attracted Barbour to the school, along with the educational components and the chance to play in the Big East. Despite liking what he saw at the Air Force Academy he was sold on Navy after his official visit. Barbour said a conversation he had with current Navy safety Chris Ferguson on that visit has led him to think he can compete for playing time should he put in the right amount of effort.
"On my visit I talked to Ferguson," Barbour said. "We follow each other on Twitter and talk on twitter and stuff like that. Chris told me the opportunity is there because they're kind of thin at safety, and he said that as long as you can do the film study and work hard then (the coaches) always give you an opportunity."
"Coach Green is actually suppose to be sending me a tape with defensive back drills that they do at Navy, so I'll be able to get use to that now," added Barbour, who pointed out that Ferguson was able to start as a true freshman at Navy.
Barbour will come to the Academy on a direct-entry ticket, and is already thinking about systems engineering as a possible field of study. And if the word of his high school coach -- and the legacy he has left at Male -- are any indication of how Barbour will do in Annapolis, then expect bright future for this young man.
"He's really one of the best I've had at the whole spectrum of understanding, playing physical, and doing all those things."
Adamnettina – at – gmail.com
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