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Notre Dame Football Recruiting

Ryan Barnes Ready to Get Rolling at Notre Dame Next Week

January 22, 2021

Ryan Barnes‍ has worked hard for this moment and it's about to happen. 

The Gaithersburg (Md.) native received his first offer on November 25, 2019, from Tennessee and just over a year later, Barnes is about to head to Notre Dame to start his collegiate career. 

"I just started packing everything and getting ready to work," the 2021 defensive back told Irish Sports Daily. "I'm going to head up a little early to spend like a week with my family that's up there." 

The 6-foot-2, 195-pounder has family about an hour away from South Bend, which factored into choosing Notre Dame.

"It was one of the main things in my recruitment process that I thought about," Barnes explained. "If I'm ever in need, I know I have the coaching staff, but if there was something personal, I know they would be there for me for whatever I need." 

And yes, you read that right. Barnes has put on about 20 pounds in the last year and it was by design.

"I've gained weight and I'm up to 195 pounds now," said Barnes. "My goal has been to put on weight, so when I get there, Coach (Matt) Balis can do whatever he needs to." 

Balis will surely welcome Barnes and the rest of the early enrollees sooner than later, but so will new Notre Dame defensive coordinator Marcus Freeman. 

Freeman is tasked with rebooting the Notre Dame secondary in 2021 and the early arrival of Barnes, Philip Riley and Justin Walters will be a quality start. 

"I've had a conversation with him," Barnes said of Freeman. "We got on the phone and talked for a little bit. I'm excited to be coached by him and learn from him, especially seeing his success at Cincinnati. I'm excited to be part of the program with him." 

While the relationship is new, Freeman's personality shined through the phone and has Barnes as excited as ever to strap on the gold helmet. 

"The energy he brings with everything he does - he gets me fired up," Barnes stated. "I can't wait to be on the field and have that behind me and supporting me." 

Barnes is also ready to contribute wherever Freeman needs him. At Quince Orchard, Barnes was a star at cornerback, but he knows his skill set also translates to safety.

"We've had conversations about it," said Barnes. "They said when I get there, they'll find out which will be best for me. If it's corner, it'll be corner and if it's safety, it's safety. Either one, I'm excited to play whatever will get me on the field and get me some time." 

Deep down, Barnes probably hopes it's cornerback, but he's also seen Kyle Hamilton, who has a similar build, have great success over the last two seasons. 

"I've played safety once in middle school, but I was a receiver and then moved to corner," Barnes explained. "That's what I'm kind of used to. It's the hardest position to play on the field, but I like that challenge. If I'm at safety, I have no issue." 

Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of Notre Dame's class of early enrollees is the fact most haven't met each other in person. In most years, all of the commits would have met each other at least once in South Bend, but the COVID pandemic prevented that from happening.

That said, Barnes has seen significant differences in how his recruiting class has come together versus some of his friends playing college football. 

"I feel we will succeed together once we get to be part of this team," said Barnes. "Our bond will get stronger than it has been over quarantine. A few of the players have seen each other, but a lot of us have never met in person. Once we get to that point, I think it's going to be great.

"You have Blake Fisher, who is The Mayor, has made sure we communicate with each other and get to know each other on a personal level. It's not just Blake, but kids like Rocco (Spindler). We all talk. To have that connection before we even meet each other, I feel like it's going to be unbelievable."

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