"I'm glad that our underclassmen can see some of these older players go on to compete at the next level," said ZHS Bronco head football coach Neil Weiner at Barnes's signing. "He is fun to coach, very resilient and doesn't get down on himself. He's a mature young man, and I feel that's why he's able to succeed well in the classroom and on the field."
Barnes said his teammates are like his brothers, his family. "I am happy to be a part of this team and happy to know these coaches," said Barnes at his signing.
Barnes also thanked his mother, Alacia Tennell; grandmother, Pastor Ava Bradford, great-aunt, Andrea Hall-Craven; and sister, Jasmine Barnes for their support and attending the signing ceremony.
"We're very, very proud of him," said Tennell.
Barnes, who also plays safety and on special teams, was looked at by several other colleges including Tennessee, ULM, La. Tech, Grambling and Southern.
"I chose Northwestern because of the coaches," Barnes said. "They're great. They remind me of the coaching staff here at ZHS."