#STRecruiting: #Gamecocks reconnect with Barber

Antonio Barber

A year ago, USC was one of the favorites with WR Antonio Barber (6-2 195), formerly of Rock Hill but now in Cornelius, NC. But, Barber surprised many by committing to Tennessee on April 27th, 2018. That commitment lasted nearly a year until Barber announced a decommitment last month. In the background, USC continued to keep an eye on Barber and Tuesday morning he got a call from recruiter Bobby Bentley.

“Coach Bentley just called me and wanted to let me know that he, Bryan McClendon and Coach Muschamp all sat down for a recruiting meeting today, and with a lot of spring ball about to start, they are going to go out and make their runs, and they let me know I was high on their board,” Barber said.  “Right now they have a board of five receivers they are looking at and I was on that board.  And they were telling me that now that I’m off of Tennessee that I’m a priority for them, and he (Bentley) wants me to get to campus as soon as I can, and they want me to start rebuilding my relationship with them.  I had kind of distanced myself from them when I was committed because I was locked in.  Now they want to build that relationship back up and see where it goes.”

To Barber, this was a significant phone call. For whatever reason, he committed to the Vols last spring over USC and others. But his strongest ties are with the Gamecock program. He said he’s been waiting to hear back from them before moving forward with his recruiting plans.

“Once they offer me the scholarship, it’s going to be very huge for me and my family,” he said.  “I’ve got two of my god-brothers, Gerald Dixon and Gerald Dixon Sr., both played at South Carolina.  I’m actually first cousin with Jadeveon Clowney.  I’m tied in there a lot.  My uncle, Tony Watkins, played there in the 90s.” 

Barber said he hasn’t visited USC since December and he’s looking forward to getting back to the campus and rekindling that old relationship he had prior to his Tennessee pledge.

“South Carolina was really hot with me at that point, they were like in the top three schools,” he said.  “Once I committed to Tennessee, South Carolina let me know they were still going to be on my trail, they were never going to let up.  And when Coach Bentley called me this morning, he was like, ‘Didn’t I remind you that we would still be there?’  And I’m like, you did say that.”

Barber said he has offers from NC State, Florida State, Virginia Tech, Virginia, Notre Dame, Ole Miss, Syracuse and others. West Virginia, Maryland and Arizona also have been showing interest. This spring he has visited Virginia Tech, Georgia, North Carolina and NC State..

Last season, Barber help to re-establish the Rock Hill High program as a winner. He had 28 catches for 575 yards and 8 touchdowns.

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