Georgia keeps productive TE Ethan Barbour home with commitment
One of the top tight end recruits in the state of Georgia elected to come off the board in the middle of his junior season, and now Ethan Barbour is verbally committed to the back-to-back national champions.
Georgia won out on Friday afternoon over the class of 2025 standout's additional finalists, Alabama, Auburn, South Carolina and Ohio State. Nearly three dozen college programs had reportedly offered the Alpharetta (Ga.) High School pass catcher at the time of his public decision.
"Georgia is elite," Barbour recently told Rivals. "If you're going to be a tight end at Georgia, you need to master all aspects of the position. You have to be physical at the point of contact and you have to be able to help the team move the ball downfield.
"They use the tight ends differently than everybody else. Coach (Todd) Hartley has been putting tight ends in the league. It's the ultimate goal for me."
Barbour joins fellow in-state star Elyiss Williams among UGA commitments at the position in the junior class, something the newest Bulldog commitment has long anticipated due to Hartley and Georgia's history of using multiple tight ends within the offense.
"He (Hartley) has always told me he was going to take two tight ends in the class," he said.
The 2025 class continues the multi-tight end trend for Kirby Smart and Hartley, who have brought in multiple tight ends at the same time in all but one cycle since the class of 2018 (2022). There is usually a physical variance between the duos, which stands true again in this cycle with the towering Williams at 6-foot-7 and the AHS product closer to 6-foot-3 at this time.
Georgia is up to seven pledges in the 2025 class, with Barbour adding to the early No. 1-ranked haul on Rivals.
There is a lot to like of Barbour's game from a modern sense, both at the tight end position and with the context of how UGA has paced the country in maximizing different skill sets at the position. A compact and filled-out prospect around 6-foot-3, 225 pounds, Barbour has to make his proverbial money with the combination of polish and power, which he certainly shows where it counts most -- on Friday nights.
The newest tight end into the Bulldog fold had a monster sophomore campaign in 2022, hauling in a dozen touchdowns and registering 714 yards against stout Atlanta-area competition, and he's already up to five scores as a junior through just three games. The production is possibly Barbour's best trait to date, as he just finds ways to get open despite less than ideal height and length to his name. It's where the polish shows up both as a route-runner, from a technical perspective, as well as from a football IQ angle in finding the soft spot in zone coverage. Both are essential in the modern game.
Barbour also has a bravado to him, easy to see on a given in-person evaluation whether it be close to home or across the country at a 7-on-7 event (photo above in Los Angeles). The confidence can be audibly digested pre-snap or post-snap here, and for good reason, he is a tough matchup for defensive backs because of his physicality at the contact point and his strong hands at the catch point. For linebackers, he presents too precise with a given route for most to keep up.
With experience split out and with his hand in the dirt, Barbour will need to continue to work on his leverage game as a blocker to prove a true counter to the conventional tight end type, though his compact build could lead to an off-the-line role as more of a gadget player in college and possibly beyond. H-back duties, or even a wing or part-time fullback role could make sense given Barbour's athleticism and occasional pop.
It should be said there is still more than a year of prep development for Barbour to blossom into a more finished product, so the projection is worth an update going into the near year. For the mean time, though, he reminds us of former Miami Hurricane tight end and current NFL tight end Brevin Jordan, who was a fifth-round pick of the Houston Texans in 2022.