Lakeland (Fla.) Lake Gibson offensive guard Ricky Barnum said he's excited about what his senior season will bring. He believes his team is one of the best in the state and things are also going quite well for him on the recruiting front.
But first things first. Why is he pumped about the season?
"We should be one of the top teams in the state by the end of football season – up there with Booker T Washington and those big schools," Barnum, who is ranked as the nation's No. 23 offensive guard, said. "We could be up there with them by the end of the year.
"I'm playing a little bit of nose tackle and offensive line. Me and Jamison Lee the guard that plays by me. I'm playing left tackle and a little bit of defense. Some schools want me to play guard, but there are some schools recruiting me at offensive tackle. Some even say center, I think I could be an awesome center."
"After going through practice trying out, I think center would be a good spot for me," he said. "You can't find too many centers at 6-foot-3. I've got good feet and quickness, long arms, good run blocking skills, good pass blocker, but I'd prefer to stay at offensive tackle. I see why schools want me at center, though, and I wouldn't mind it."
When it comes to recruiting, Barnum said a few teams have remained the most consistent with contact.
"I've just been getting letters right now," he said. "Florida, Georgia, West Virginia, Maryland, Florida State, and USF are sending me a lot of mail, but they're not necessarily my top teams.
"I have a top eight or nine, though – Florida, Alabama, Georgia, West Virginia, USF, Miami, Georgia Tech, South Carolina and Ohio State. They're all full ride scholarships. They all sent me the paper in the mail, so I have the proof saying they've offered me.
"I want it down to five so I can have a top five. It's going to be hard, a long decision. Hopefully I'll have it by the end of football season. I'm going to go to games during my football season, but they're not going to be official visits. I'll take my official visits after the football season."
Barnum plans to have a busy fall visiting colleges for games.
"I'm going to about four Florida games, because they'll be playing great teams," he said. "Then I hope to make a Georgia game and a South Carolina game. I'd like to make a West Virginia game, but that's a long drive, so I'm probably just going to take an official visit to West Virginia."
Barnum said he's not really sure if he has a clear-cut leader.
"They're pretty much all even right now," he said. "Florida sticks out the most because they're doing hard recruiting right now. Not a lot of schools are doing that. Then USF, Alabama, and South Carolina are heavily recruiting me. Other schools talk to me but not like they do. If other schools don't start coming after me then those may just be the schools I look at.
"I might play center for (Florida). They want me to play center. They don't want me out there my first year, because I'm going to be a young freshman. I might get redshirted as a freshman or I might start as a freshman. They have great offensive linemen, but I'm pretty confident if I go in there and work hard I could play for any school. "