It was just a connection I had with the staff, even before I had the offer. It was a long thought out process with my high school coach, my family. I knew this was where I wanted to be, it was just about when I got the offer, Barber told VolQuest, adding that Tennessee waited to hand out an offer until his academics were in order. Once I got that together I already knew that I wanted to make my decision soon. I woke up this morning and today was the day. I want to be a part of the Vol Nation.
Barber, whose offers include Virginia Tech, Notre Dame, Colorado and Texas Tech, had a previous relationship with both Jeremy Pruitt and Brian Niedermeyer at Alabama, and he said Tennessees new staff made him feel like a priority since arriving in Knoxville.
Once they changed schools and went to Tennessee, I followed them there and theyre still the same guys. They never changed, Barber said. When I talked to the coaches (on my visit) they was talking about how they had just one commitment and they would love for me to be the second one and be a part of the family. That was before I even had an offer. That made me feel like I was home.
Barber grew up actually cheering for Tennessee, rooting on his cousin Jonathan Hefney, who played defensive back for the Vols in the mid-2000s. When Barber finally got the chance to walk into Neyland Stadium for the first time in February, he was in awe. I used to watch them on TV when I was younger. Seeing the stadium, that really made me love Tennessee more though, he said. Really, every college Ive been to, their stadium is massive. Its bigger than any Ive seen.
Now committed, Barber has already turned his sights on getting other Carolina natives to join him at Tennessee. Hes close with top 2019 cornerback target Tyus Fields, and said hes also recruiting guys like 2021 corner Mario Love, who picked up a UT offer on Tuesday and 2019 wideouts Jacoby Pinckney and Quindarious Jefferson.
They told me I need to recruit and bring some more guys with me. I got a few guys who I know are going to commit soon, but I cant give it up though. Big news, Barber said. We want to be that change in the program. We want to be the Pruitt Era and be that team that the Vol Nation will remember.