When Mike Mickens was hired in early March to coach the cornerbacks at Notre Dame, he walked into a shaky recruiting situation. Two months had gone by no position coach, and the board was thin when the first-year coach took over.
The board has expanded over the last week, and one of the most talented defensive backs on the East Coast is now very much on the Notre Dame radar.
Notre Dame offered Gaithersburg (Md.) Quince Orchard cornerback Ryan Barnes this week, and the offer was a big one for the standout defender.
“It meant a lot to me and my family,” said the 6-2, 175-pound cornerback.“I grew up following Notre Dame football. My dad has been a fan since he was a kid, and I have family that lives about an hour away [from campus].”
Even though the offer just recently was delivered, Barnes has been a Notre Dame target for a while now, having built a relationship with multiple coaches along the way.
“Coach [Terry] Joseph offered,” Barnes informed Irish Breakdown. “The staff has been awesome. I’ve had conversations with a few of them before my offer. They told me that there was interest, and that my film was good.”
Barnes is a prospect that is coveted by some of the best schools in the country, but Notre Dame is sticking out as one of his top schools at the moment.
“Very high,” he said of where the Irish stand. “I haven’t made a top schools list but yes, very high. This was definitely an offer I was hoping to receive.”
While Barnes has not been able to make it up to South Bend as a recruit quite yet, he has been to campus before.
“Yes, just passing through because my Dad wanted us to see campus,” Barnes explained. “My brother and I were invited to the Under Armour All-American Camp in Chicago, I think it was in 2016 or 2017. My mom’s parents also live in Indiana.”
Barnes has fond memories of his visit to Notre Dame’s campus, and he hopes to get up there as soon as the NCAA mandated dead period comes to an end.
“I loved the campus,” Barnes stated. “We didn’t see everything and … that’s the plan to visit when things open up again. I was scheduled to be there April 7, and that was planned before the offer.”
Notre Dame’s incoming 2021 defensive back class should have a good chance to compete for playing time once they step onto campus. This is something that can intrigue a player, but Barnes is ready for whatever plan a coaching staff has for him.
“Honestly, I’m very thankful to be in this position, and I’ll be ready for whatever plan, regarding playing time, that the coaching staff has for me.”
Barnes is certainly a Notre Dame fit on and off the field.
“Academics is the lead,” Barnes stated regarding what he looks for in a college.“It’s very important, including having my major and a strong network that will be there for me after I graduate.”
Barnes is listed as a consensus three-star prospect, but his film tells a different story. He is a long and talented cornerback, one who reminds Irish Breakdown publisher Bryan Driskell of former Notre Dame and Minnesota Vikings star Robert Blanton.