June 21, 2011

Ready to step in

Cartersville's Collin Barber laughed that he had Mark Richt fooled when punting during the Georgia coach's recent football camp.

"He told me he looked over and saw the ball flying off my foot and at first thought it was Drew Butler out kicking until he saw it was me," Barber laughed during an interview with UGASports.

Apparently Richt liked what he saw, as he subsequently pulled Barber aside to offer him a scholarship to sign with the Bulldogs.

Barber accepted on the spot.

"That's a whole lot of stress off my shoulders," Barber said.

Cartersville coach Frank Barden said the Bulldogs are getting a good one.

"Last year Collin did great and he could change the field for us on punts, and he set a school record last year with a 54-yard field goal," Barden said. "About 80 percent of his kickoffs went for touchbacks, so he was just a big weapon for us."

Obviously, the Bulldogs hope their recent verbal commitment will do the same when he arrives in Athens next summer.

His timing couldn't be better.

With Butler graduating after the upcoming 2011 campaign, Georgia will need someone to step in and - pardon the pun - put his best foot forward.

"He's (Butler) one heck of a punter," Barber said. "If I can just focus on kicking and doing what I'm supposed to do, I feel I can come and fill his shoes."

Obviously, Bulldog coaches believe Barber fills that bill just fine.

"Coach (John) Lilly) and Coach (Mike) Bobo both told me I have a great leg and thought I did well," Barber said. "I was just telling myself if I got the chance I was going to try and show out."

That's just what he did.

Despite taking part in his first camp of the summer, Barber said he was able to go out and average five seconds on his hang-time.

"Honestly, for me, if I can hit a five-second average, that would be fine," Barber said. "That would be fine with me."

Getting to play close to home obviously has its benefits as well.

"It's an instate school and I'll be close to home," said Barber, who like many kickers, grew up playing soccer before giving football a try. "I've had a lot of help from various coaches and just had it in mind if I got the chance to go to college and get a full ride I was going to take it."

...More... To continue reading this article you must be a member. Sign Up Now!