Philadelphia (Pa.) Northeast four-star defensive end Deion Barnes has always had more talent than just about everyone else he has lined up against on the football field. He may find that is still the case in college, though the playing field will level out significantly.
Over the past year, however, Barnes has found that talent alone isn't the only thing a player needs. He has honed his skills and become a much more complete player, and he believes that will benefit him greatly next season as a freshman in college, wherever that is.
"I think I've had my best year," Barnes said on Monday evening. "I've most definitely matured. Zone reads used to get me all the time last year. Now I'm being patient and I'm a lot better against the run. When teams do run against me now most of the time it goes for negative yards.
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"I've got better at studying the game. That's where I've really improved. I'm watching the running back's eyes. Last year all I knew how to do was go out and pop people. Now I know how to use my arms, how to spin off, where the ball is going. I play games with the (offensive) tackles. That's where I've gotten better."
Northeast is 8-2 on the season and they have won their last eight contests. They just brought home the Public League championship and this Saturday they will play for the city crown. After that the state playoffs begin.
The defense, led by Barnes, has been carrying the team for the most part this season, and that's something you can tell the four-star prospect takes great pride in when he speaks about his squad.
Barnes is planning on making his college decision public on January 20, his birthday. Five schools -- Georgia, Michigan, Penn State, Pittsburgh and South Carolina -- are still in the mix.
He hasn't set up any official visits and he's hesitant to go on the record too much about each of those schools individually. He says he will know a lot more once he takes official visits to each of them after the season.
Though he is very familiar with a school such as Penn State, for example, he knows much less about Georgia. Only his official visits will help him determine which might be a better fit, so once his season is over expect him to embark on a whirlwind tour of visits to each of those five schools, if he can fit all of the dates in.