As you are aware, we both have and continue to cover Clarksville, Tennessee talent, and talent from the Clarksville metropolitan area, as part of our coverage area largely because we have interests located in Hopkinsville, Kentucky. Hopkinsville and Clarksville comprise one metropolitan area in spite of one city being in Kentucky and the second lying just across the Tennessee state line.
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Today we go up the road a little from Clarksville to its sister city, Hopkinsville, Kentucky to award this week’s honor. This particular player happens to live in Oak Grove, Kentucky less than a mile from the Tennessee state line. While living in the HHS-zone, this is a kid less than a mile from attending school in Clarksville, Tennessee and closer to the high school he would attend there than the school he finds himself attending.
Hopkinsville has a fine tradition in football and has won two KHSAA football state championships previously (1965 & 1966) and one prior to the KHSAA’s forming (1940). The Tigers have played for it all on three other occasions, 1984, 1996, 1997.
The Tigers look to rebound this year, after consecutive losing seasons, over which time the proud program has suffered through an 11-14 stretch. Hopkinsville, in spite of is problems on offense over the course of 2018 was good on defense. Defense, if the recent scrimmage against Bowling Green High school is a fair indicator, looks to be the strength of the team in 2019 too.
Red Barnes led the Tigers in tackles in 2018 with 81, had 9 tackles for loss, and 4 QB sacks all of which constituted (in our minds) All-State numbers for a player aligned mostly in either the 1 or 3 technique along a four-man front. We selected Barnes, in 2017, to the KPGFootball All-State sophomore team and voted for him in the AP’s ballot last year, where he was honorably mentioned.
Barnes, whose GPA is nearly a 4-point, and who also has a qualifying ACT (22), is in the “no-sweat” clearance-zone regarding the NCAA’s Clearing House for college football players. Barnes is a tweener, size-wise, as he is probably too small to play where HHS plays him at the next level (6-1, 225-pounds) and hasn’t any experience playing standing up, as either a second level defender or a pass-rush specialist off the edge.
We talked to new defensive line coach Jon Offutt about Barnes and he likened him to a player Offutt coached at Springfield High School, where he was the HC, named Josh Big Play Bey. If this kid is another Bey (and Offutt and we clearly believe he is), schools need to run (not walk) to Hopkinsville to secure his signature. Bey, another tweener in high school, went on to UTMartin and was a back-to-back, OVC, Defensive Player of the Year.
We saw every game Bey played at Springfield High School his junior and senior years, both on the road and at home and have watched Barnes play 25 varsity football games. We agree with Offutt, as we are in a good position to make such assessment, that the comparison is completely valid. This kid is an easy take at the FCS-level because he has FBS, power-5 ability and motor in an FCS-frame. Even his frame borders on FBS-level depending on where you wish to play him.
This is a guy we would take, even at the FBS-level, and either make into a fullback/H-back (depending on offensive alignment), or turn into a stand-up, rush end, specializing in getting heat on a QB. This kid would be one Hell of a signature for any of the Military Academies (Army, Navy, Air Force) or even teams like Wofford, Fordham, Georgia Southern, Marshall, Cincinnati, or any of the schools in either the OVC or the SoCon (Yes, we know the Terriers are in the SoCon).
Congratulations to Hopkinsville High School’s Denarius “Red” Barnes, Class of 2020, for being chosen our Meeks & Meeks, Attorneys, Montgomery County Area Player of the Week! Join us next week as we award this to another worthy recipient.
This is Fletcher Long, reporting for KPGFootball, reminding you to PLAY THROUGH THE WHISTLE!
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