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Kittanning's Barnes enters QB picture at Waynesburg

| Tuesday, May 28, 2013, 12:21 a.m.
Kittanning senior Kevin Barnes, the Leader Times' 2012 Football Player of the Year, will attend Waynesburg this fall

As a quarterback, Kevin Barnes often makes quick decisions. When it came to picking a college, however, Barnes stayed patient while making his choice.

Barnes, a Kittanning senior and the 2012 Leader Times Player of the Year, will continue his football career this fall at Waynesburg after picking the school over a handful of other local programs expressing interest.

Though Barnes waited until May to finalize his decision, Waynesburg always had been a school that rated highly on his list. The Yellow Jackets' continued recruitment throughout the year ended up being a contributing factor to Barnes' choice.

“They were talking to me from the very beginning. That they put so much time and effort into recruiting me made a difference,” Barnes said. “The coaching staff was one of my favorite staffs that I met, too.”

Barnes starred for the Wildcats last season. He had 1,195 yards passing and 940 yards rushing in his first year as a quarterback. His dual-threat ability is what he thinks can help him get playing time early in his college career, and his athleticism is what made him such an attractive player to the Waynesburg coaching staff.

“We're real excited about his dual-threat ability. He doesn't have a ton of experience at quarterback, but we think he has a ton of potential going forward as he learns the position. He's a rare athlete for our program,” said Waynesburg offensive coordinator Matt Stansfield, who played a big role in Barnes' recruitment along with head coach Rick Shepas.

Waynesburg has four other quarterbacks on its roster, including returning junior starter Carter Hill. So Barnes is prepared to do some work as an understudy and find other ways to contribute to a team that finished last season ranked 24th in the country with a 10-1 record after defeating Carnegie Mellon in the ECAC-South West Bowl.

“They still have their quarterback from last year, and he did a good job,” Barnes said. “The coaches told me it's going to be a lot to handle and take control of the offense, but they also said there's a chance I could play in some of the packages they use, even if I'm not the starter.”

“We wouldn't have recruited him if we didn't think he could get on the field,” Stansfield said. “Everyone's going to start camp at the same level, and once we see what he can handle and what he can take in, we'll see what we can do with him in the offense.”

Barnes will work this summer on his passing with a quarterbacks trainer and a workout program from his new team, and he has been working out with his former high school teammates this spring.

While picking a school was a long process for Barnes, he already knows what he hopes to study at Waynesburg. With a school and a major picked out, Barnes is ready to enjoy his graduation and move on to the next stage of his career.

“Athletic training is something I've thought about studying the last couple years. I might not be able to play sports forever, but I want to stay associated with sports in some way,” Barnes said.

“It's good that I don't have to worry about picking a school and stuff like that anymore. I'm excited and ready to go.”

Matt Grubba is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at mgrubba@tribweb.com or via Twitter @Grubba_Trib.

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