Baylor first to offer talented youngsters Barlow & Sylvester
ARLINGTON, Tex. -- The emotion on the field at AT&T stadium was clear after Newton’s dominating win against Gunter for the Eagles’ fourth state championship in school history.
The victory was underscored by the efforts of an impressive group of underclassmen that paced Newton on to the 40-16 result. In addition to the efforts on both sides of the ball by athlete Josh Foster and Tamauzia Brown, the names many were talking about following the game were 2019 running back Darwin Barlow and 2020 defensive end James Sylvester.
“This was for our coach; we love him,” Barlow said of his head coach, W.T. Johnston. “We’ve been preaching all season - since summer workouts - this is our season, this is when we win state, we got it.”
The younger prospect was nearly overwhelmed by his team’s accomplishment so early in his career.
“It’s exciting,” Sylvester said. “I’m speechless. I can’t even speak right I’m so happy right now.”
If there was a moment in the postseason that might have rivaled winning a state title, it was when both were offered by Baylor earlier in December. No doubt, after their final game of the season, more eyes will be on them going forward, but coming through with those players’ first offer could prove to be quite the fortuitous move by the Bears staff.
“When I first got my offer, I was excited,” Sylvester said. “It really got to me when I got word of that - I was really excited. After that, I had to keep my composure and not get a big head about it, and I just kept doing what I normally do and we won (a state championship).”
Barlow, who finished the game with nearly 140 yards rushing in the game, may have spring-boarded himself into what could become a very busy spring following his performance. He was clearly excited to pick that coveted first offer from Baylor, but feels as though that will just be the first of many now that he’s wrapped up the more immediate task of winning that state championship.
“It just meant everything to me,” he said of the BU offer. “It shows that all my hard work is paying off. It came during the playoffs, so I just knew that the state ring came first and then all the offers would come later.”
Both prospects are now more than just blips on the state recruiting radar. Barlow said that Alabama had told him to expect some communication once the playoffs concluded and he felt like Rutgers and TCU were among the teams seriously interested in him as well. Sylvester has his sights set high as well, listing Clemson, Oregon and Texas among his favorite teams - and ones he hopes will recruit him as he continues on.
“I just need to get in the weight room, get a little bigger,” he said. “I’ll be staying in shape for basketball season, but after that, it’s just about getting ready for football again.”