Texas just fits Eryon Barnett.
When the four-star defensive back from Euless, Tex. went down to Austin for a Texas Junior Day, the atmosphere made him feel at home. According to Barnett, though, where he'll be most at home is in the Longhorn defense.
“(Texas') style of defense is the way I like to play, very physical, more hands on, a lot of press. That's what they plan on running,” said Barnett.
That physicality is one of the reasons the Texas coaching staff sought Barnett's services.
“I didn't have that many tackles this year, but the tackles I did have were hard hits,” said Barnett. “Coach (Duane) Akina likes my long arms, the good height, the good hips, the good footwork.”
During the 2007 season, Barnett posted 48 tackles, six pass-breakups and three interceptions. One factor keeping the overall number of tackles down is his blanketing style of coverage, where he uses his height and unusually long arms to prevent his opponent from getting open. He's big for a corner, but that's something Texas likes about him and Barnett said he can get even bigger before showing up to UT.
“I would like to put on a couple pounds,” said Barnett. “I want to weigh around 200, 205 when I get to college. Right now I weight 180 and I'm 6-3. I know I can gain ten pounds before we start football season while still improving my quickness.”
Many coaches who recruited Barnett planned on playing him at safety, but Texas looks at the 4.5 speed that accompanies his size and sees a shut down corner who fits in defensive coordinator Will Muschamp's pressing scheme.
Barnett is also the first player from Euless Trinity to fit at Texas in a while.
“They've really recruited us, we just haven't had a fit,” said Trinity head coach Steve Lineweaver. “A guy was good, could maybe have the skills, but he would be shy of academics or maybe just an inch or two short. Most of the times just too slow. We've got a saying around here: 'The legs feed the wolf.' You've got to be able to run. I don't care if it's an offensive tackle or a defensive lineman, all of them, you'd better be able to run, especially at the University of Texas.”
Along with having the academic and football prowess, Lineweaver said Barnett's attitude is in line with the players the Longhorns seek to recruit.
“They are looking for guys with great personality that would honor the opportunity of a scholarship to a place like the University of Texas, people who'd be appreciative. Our guy falls right in there,” said Lineweaver. “I would say he is affable, gregarious almost.”
As for how he sees his own personality, Barnett told Inside Texas he's friendly with everybody, but how he expresses it can change based on his environment.
“With my teammates I can be kind of crazy, jumpy, bouncing off the walls, stuff like that, but with the rest of the people I'm quiet,” said Barnett. “I really don't talk that much. Everybody says I smile all the time. I'm a chill, laid back kind of guy.”
His defensive coordinator, however, will most decidedly not be a chill, laid back kind of guy. Muschamp is known for his fiery demeanor, but Barnett said it was one of the things that attracted him to Texas.
“He has a lot of energy, he's real excited about everything,” said Barnett. “His coaching style makes me want to play for him.”
The closest bond he's formed amongst the coaches, though, is with Akina, his future position coach.
“He's a real good guy. You can tell he's got some experience underneath him and he knows what he's doing,” said Barnett. “He's put seven or eight DBs in the NFL the past couple of years, so that gave me a real boost of energy to go down there and play and go into the draft under him.”
Barnett listed a multitude of reasons for why he feels Texas fits him, but when asked to sum it up, he gave a simple answer:
“Texas is where it's at.”
Members Only Information on Eryon Barnett:
Early on in recruiting, Barnett was a relative unknown, but that was also the case in Euless, when coaches didn't discover him until one fateful day in junior high. - Eryon Barnett's Emergence
Plus, the Longhorns haven't pulled many players from Trinity High School, but will that change in the near future? - Euless Trinity: A Future Pipeline?