Riverside (Calif.) Notre Dame running back Kenjon Barner had some impressive numbers as a junior – 1,759 yards rushing, 26 touchdowns, 36 tackles and three interceptions. Those were enough to allow him to earn first-team all-CIF honors and it's also enough to have colleges from all over the country recruit him.
"Going into my season, I wasn't sure what to expect since I was at a new school," Barner said. "As the season progressed, I was really pleased with how it turned out. I had a great line, great coaches and everybody was behind me."
And there's little question that Barner, who measured in at 5-foot-10 and 170 pounds at the recent Los Angeles NIKE Training Camp, is going to be one of the area's most heavily recruited running backs. While he showed he can definitely play a number of different positions – he also had five receptions for 112 yards – he wants a shot at playing tailback in college.
"I can get to the outside pretty much any time I want to," he said. "But this season, I learned to become more of an inside runner. I can go off tackle right and left and get good yards pretty much any time. The way we have it set up, my fullback goes in before me, and then I'm able to see where the defenders are coming from. I can cut it back or bounce it outside from there."
Barner is excited about the recruiting process so far. He doesn't have any offers at this point, but schools are telling him they want him. The offers will come. He knows they will.
"For a quite some time it's been a dream to play Division I football," he said. "I started out playing basketball, and that's what I thought I wo uld be. But then I played football for the first time in sixth grade, and since then it's been all about football. I love football. You can be aggressive. You can take the anger from a bad and out on an opponent. There's no crying in football, too. It really gives you a chance to escape."
Now the question is will he escape to an out of state school?
"I get a lot of letters from Colorado, Oregon, Cal and I got a new one recently from Boise State," he said. "UTEP, LSU, Utah and Kansas State are also sending me stuff. Kansas State said they were going to offer me. They told my coach they would sign me right now if they could. My coach said San Diego State said the same thing. It's pretty exciting to have all these people recruiting you."
Barner said he has a few things that will be important when the time comes to make the big decision.
"First of all, I want to look at academics," he said. "Academics will back me up in case things don't work out on the football field. Being close to home would be nice, but that's not really not going to determine where I go. I want to major sports medicine. It'd allow me to do something that I love. I love the medicine side of things, but I love being around sports."