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Four-star RB Jovantae Barnes discusses his three finalists

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – Jovantae Barnes is ready to announce his commitment Sunday at the Under Armour All-America Game and three schools remain in the running.

It will be Oklahoma, USC or Florida State for the four-star running back from Las Vegas (Nev.) Desert Pines.

After Wednesday’s night practice, Barnes broke down his three finalists and what stands out about each program:


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On DeMarco Murray staying at Oklahoma: “It’s really important. Everything really explains itself. Him being from Vegas and his top schools were actually USC and Oklahoma. Being a West Coast kid you expect him to pick SC so there had to be something over there at OU that made him pick that. That’s what he’s been making me see. He’s been hard on me ever since Lincoln (Riley) left and he’s letting it be known he loves Lincoln, it’s all respect, they’re still brothers but at the end of the day they were great before him. I looked at that and paid attention and took that into mind, too.

“It says a lot (that Murray stayed at Oklahoma). Just looking at it, you can tell he means everything he’s been saying ever since the beginning. Way before Lincoln left and he was there, when he got the job he was saying it’s a special place and he’s never going to leave. That was the opportunity to see if he was going to leave and he’s had other opportunities and he still didn’t do it. That’s the utmost respect to him and I pay attention to little things like that.”



On his recent visit to USC: “It was amazing. On the visit you could definitely tell the difference between the old staff with (Clay) Helton and the new staff with Riley. It’s just different. I know he brought a lot of people from OU that I already knew so I saw a lot of the same faces but at the same time there was a different energy.

“I’ve been going to SC ever since I was in eighth grade so I felt the vibe and knowing the place like the back of my hand I was a little iffy but when I took it again with Lincoln, I was like, ‘Oh my God, this is on top of my list now. I really have to consider this.’

"As soon as they hired (Tashard) Choice (who has since left for Texas) I was like I’m back on board with them so it was a big difference for sure.”



On Florida State and his relationship with former assistant coach Kenny Dillingham among others: “I love Florida State. Florida is my home. Just finding a school I loved in Florida, I had to really pay attention and see what they have that I really love. That was probably my best visit out of my whole five.

“It was just the energy. Me and Kenny still have a good bond and he’s at Oregon. He said, ‘I’m forever going to be a fan of you no matter where you go and if you’re not coming to my school I’m going to keep it real with you.’ He was telling me when he was over there that he couldn’t promise he was going to be there but he was going to recruit me while he was there and he’s trying to get me anywhere he goes. We have that big brother relationship.

“I was hanging out with CJ Campbell the walk-on and he was being treated like he already has a scholarship and I pay attention to little things like that because I don’t pay attention to kids who already got it because they’re not working as hard as him. People loved him and treated him with respect, it was no different. Coach (David Johnson), coach (Mike) Norvell, I love those guys so Florida State was amazing.”