February 11, 2008

Jacksonville RB eyes Ole Miss for 09

Florida is fertile recruiting ground and has a lot more Division I talent than the in-state's three big schools can take, leaving it ripe for recruiters from country.

Ole Miss signed six Florida prospects in Ed Orgeron's first year, three in 2006, and was done to just one last year and new Rebel head coach Houston Nutt pullled just one out of the Sunshine state last week in quarterback Chris Wilkes.

Rebel recruiting coordinator Chris Vaughn attended Godby High School in Tallahassee and it's a given he'll join the throng of recruiters combing the state this spring in search of talent.

Jacksonville (Bolles HS) running back Stephen Barnett already has made an unofficial visit to Ole Miss and is interested in the Rebels before they're showing interest in him.

"I went up for the Ole Miss - LSU game," Barnett said on Sunday afternoon. "I liked the southern and homey feel that it had. The people were so nice and friendly and they also had some nice facilities."

Barnett, 6-foot-1, 190 pounds with 4.47 speed, also visited Nebraska for the Cornhuskers' game against Kansas State and was also impressed with that trip.

"What stood out to me about Nebraska was their fan base," Barnett said. "I mean they have been struggling lately and they still sell out every game and have some enthusiastic fans."

Barnett is a military dependent, his father is a career Navy officer," but he's had some stability the last five or six years, entering Bolles High School around the sixth grade.

"We wanted Bolles because of it's outstanding academic reputation and knew it would be physically challenging," Barnett said. "It also has some great coaches.

Barnett had played basketball in addition football up until this season. He now participates in weight lifting and track in addition to playing football.

Last season, as a junior, he played in 12 games and had just over 1,200 yards on 138 carries and scored 15 touchdowns.

"Steve has great vision," Bolles head coach Corky Rogers said. "I love the way he cuts! He can play anywhere on the field."

Barnes has also been named on the 2009 prospect watch list by the Jacksonville Times-Union.

Barnes is currently showing interest in Ole Miss, Nebraska, Louisville, Stanford, Vanderbilt, and Virginia.

However, one school has separated itself in getting Barnett's attention.

"I'm hearing a lot from Wake Forest," Barnett said.

He plans to camp at Auburn, Vanderbilt, and Wake Forest, and may attend other camps, but hasn't decided on which ones at this time.

Barnett has a 3.2 GPA and recently took the ACT for the first time.

(Editor's note: Ole Miss has more players from Florida than it appears on the roster, as the last school played is often listed, in cases involving JUCO players and prep school players. As an example, both Andrew Harris and Enrique Davis hail from Florida, but their last address was Hargrave Military Academy in Virginia).

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