December 8, 2008


Palatine (IL) Harper J.C. duel-threat quarterback Garrett Barnas was not the original starting quarterback on his team last season, an injury gave him the starting nod. After being tabbed the starter Barnas didn't disappoint as he went on to have a season where he was named a second team All-American.

This season coming off of a great freshman campaign he had a lot of expectations to live up to and he did just that. A year ago it was Second Team All-American, this season it was First Team All-American. With those two seasons many different division one schools were showing him interest, but one school was on top of the rest for a long time in this process. That school was the Syracuse Orange.

Barnas, 6-foot-1, 210 pounds had the Orange on top for awhile and today he chose to end the recruiting process and verbally pledge to Syracuse University. Why were the Orange the top choice, what made them so special?

"Well, it's not the snow or the cold weather. To pick a school because you like the weather is a bit superficial. I picked Syracuse because it felt right. There is a pride, a tradition there that anyone interested can see drives the fan base, the scheduling, and (I hope) the future. I went to see The Express and there is something special about saying "Yes" to the same school that Brown, Davis, Little, McNabb, Freeney, Harrison all said "Yes" to."

When all was said and done though it was the education he would receive at Syracuse that became the most important factor in picking the Orange.

"My education for sure. Going to Harper has helped me immensely. I've matured and have learned a great deal about the process of study and education. Although it can be argued that I put myself at a disadvantage by going the a JC, I have to believe it was all meant for a greater purpose. I think it's because I needed that time, and so did Syracuse. I have taken a lot of snaps and have gained a lot of game day experience. I read defenses better and I am a more complete player and person. Syracuse and Garrett Barnas are coming together at the right time because we can now help each other in ways that weren't as clear a year ago.

The quarterback situation at Syracuse looked packed with solid talent at the start of the 2008 season, but as the year went on that was not the case. Cameron Dantley and Andrew Robinson were unable to get on track which made the need for a new signal caller important in this class. After two productive seasons Barnas thinks he will be able to help.

"I think I bring a certain finesse and at the same time athleticism. When you're a dual-threat QB, the operative word is threat! I want defenses to see me that way. Coach Paterno once said of Ernie Davis, "He's the kind of runner you hate to coach against. You can't instruct a boy to tackle a man if he can't catch him." I'm no #44. Not even close. But I have shown that I can make plays and buy time with my elusive style," Barnas said. "I grew up playing Nerf ball like a lot of kids and I think everyone at one point or another had to scramble with the ball, break free, wave to the receiver to just keep going, and let it rip. I think that's exciting whether it's Nerf, the NCAA, or the NFL. I make defenders miss and I like to put my team mates in positions to succeed, which means it's key that a QB have the ability to buy that additional second or two to make the play. That's what I will bring. Lastly, I'm the type of QB that likes to keep my eyes down field and get lots of players involved. That's the kind of "spreading the wealth" most can accept. That makes for good football and good relationships."

This commitment for the Orange is the first since Greg Robinson was fired, but Barnas new this was a possible situation.

"It's a bit disappointing to see Coach Robinson have to leave, but I knew going into this process that that was a possibility. I haven't thought much about being the 'first commit' after the firing, but I will say I watched with anticipation the list of likely replacements. I would be honored to play for any of them. Each in his own way brings a lot to the table. I trust the AD and his advisors will choose what Ernie Davis said of Coach Schwartzwalder - "a great coach and a good man"".

In the recruiting process some prospects will commit to coaches rather than schools. Some situations don't workout and a coach could be fired like at Syracuse. Barnas can't speak for other players, but he new this was the right fit.

"I knew after my visit this summer that this had all the makings of a right fit for me. The school is renowned and offers so much. I am told the alumni network is strong and active. The staff kept telling me they wanted more out of the QB position and I just felt like if I focused on helping my team in any way I could and doing all the things I needed to graduate early from Harper, that I would be shown a clear path. I don't think I can speak for other prospects, but I believe now is the right time for me to make a commitment to 'a school', one that has put their confidence in me. I am deciding to put my confidence in them to make a good coaching decision and make good on their promise to allow me to compete for the position of my choice. In the end, I play and live by the coach's decisions. I will try to do right by him and his staff."

Garrett Barnas becomes the seventh commitment of the 2009 Orange football recruiting class. The gunslinger will also be making his official visit to campus this Saturday.

Stay tuned to CuseConfidential for more on Garret Barnas tomorrow.

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