No Surprise

Jared Barber knew that he was going to commit to West Virginia before he made his second trip to Morgantown on Wednesday. He just needed to make sure his family was on board.

Jared Barber became West Virginia's eighth commitment of the Class of 2011, but before he did so he involved his family in the process. That, of course, fit right in with WVU head coach Bill Stewart's plan to solidify every commitment before it is made.

"To be honest, I saw everything on my last visit here that I needed to see, said Barber, who made that trip wo WVU in the company of his father. "I knew that I wanted to be a Mountaineer then I just wanted my mom and brothers to see the place before I made it official."

The brother part of the equation was no problem. Older brother Adam (26) and Jared's twin brother Jacob both approved of the choice from the start. Adam, a former offensive lineman who was a college prospect before suffering a knee injury, and Jacob, who is bound for Liberty to play baseball, saw all of the things that Jared did. His mother, however, was another story – at least initially.

"My mom came up with us, and she was a little iffy with the distance from home. It's a lot further than Wake Forest," Barber observed. "But she said she would give it a chance, and she knew I wanted to be a Mountaineer. But when she got here, everything fell into place and she felt very compfrotable here. She gave me her blessing. My Dad had fallen in love with everything when he came up with on the first visit, so that was pretty much it."

Barber's affection for WVU started a couple years ago when he had a television encounter with the Backyard Brawl.

"I watched them play Pitt a couple of years ago," he related "WVU's defense caught my eye. They were getting after it and just flying around. So I started following WVU and watching their defense. Reed Williams caught me eye, too, he was someone I looked up to So I followed their defense and they way they played."

Barber admits that he hopes to emulate Reed Williams career, and while he doesn't compare himself to the former WVU star, he said that his goal is to play like the former anchor of the WVU defense.

"I'd like to think I am his style of player. He's a tremendous player. He just flies around and has fun. Coach Stewart and Coach Jeff Casteel said I reminded them of him, and that's very humbling. Those are some big shoes to fill, but I would like to play like him."

Like most players who make their decision before their senior season, Barber was glad to get it over and done with.

"Yeah man," he said with an exhalation of relief when posed with that question. "My senior season will be stress free now, and I can get out there and get after people. I can njoy my senior season and compete.

And this is it for me with recruiting. I told Coach Stew that when I would be a Mountaineer, there are kids committing then going somewhere else to visit and all of that, but that's not me. When I said I was coming to WVU, that's it. I wills tay true to my word."

Barber made those statements with single-minded determination – something that he's exhibited throughout his career. His work ethic allowed him to become a varsity starter as a ninth-grader, and he has been immediately productive from day one on the field. Three consecutive seasons of 100+ tackles and notice of his work ethic from every observer attest to his drive to excel.

"I didn't have any expectations coming into high school, but I heard a little talk about maybe starting s a freshman. That excited me. Not many people get to do that. I think my hard work has helped push me every day to be the best, and helped me play early.I watch a lot of film, and study the game.

With a scholarship sewn up, Barber is now concentrating on making improvements that will help him in his final year of high school and prepare him for college. Already a talented tackler with a nose for the ball, Barber is working to read the offensive line better in order to diagnose plays and get to the ball more quickly, and to also improve his technique.

"All those things aren't easy. They just don't come to me. I have to prepare myself in order to do that. I want to work at them so my reactions are more natural, and I don't have to think about what I'm doing."

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Rugged linebacker Jared Barber has a final trip scheduled and expects to make a decision soon.

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