CALHOUN, Ga. — Everyone's heard of the "Freshman 15," the term used to describe the average weight gain for a college freshman.
For Josh Barnes, he's looking at more like the "Freshman 40" after the Calhoun High School senior receiver accepted an offer this week to attend and play football for the Air Force Academy. At Calhoun, the 6-foot-3, 195-pounder had a prolific senior season with 94 receptions for 1,056 yards and five touchdowns for the Class AA runners-up, but his role for the Falcons, he says, will be a bit different.
"They want me to add some weight, maybe get up to 230 pounds and play more of a hybrid tight end/H-back position," Barnes said. "They've been more of an option-based attack, but I think they're expanding the offense and will pass it more. That role will be different for me, but I think it will be good for me."
Barnes began his prep career as a quarterback, but when Taylor Lamb transferred into the program before the 2011 season, Barnes was switched to receiver. After serving as the team's fourth option at wideout his junior season, he became the main inside threat this past year. Coach Hal Lamb believes the new role will be perfect for him.
"First of all, Josh is an extremely high-character kid who will do anything asked of him," Coach Lamb said. "They saw a need at the tight end position and they think, as do I, that he'll do really well. Like so many kids, once he visited the campus he fell in love with it, and you don't get many opportunities to get that type of experience and education."
Barnes also had an advantage in making the tough decision to commit to a military school. Former teammates Trent Frix and Reed Allen are completing their freshman years at the academy and were among Barnes' biggest recruiters.
"They were very influential in me going out there," said Barnes, who also had an offer from Mercer University and was recruited as a preferred walk-on by Georgia. "They've been through the things I'm going to go through and they were honest with me. Each of them at times wanted to come home, but they've stuck with it and now they love it.
"That first year is tough, but if you get through it the opportunities are tremendous."
n Calhoun teammate Sebastian Willer signed scholarship papers with Georgia State on Wednesday, ending a two-year period for the German-born defensive end in which he went from raw football player to an athlete Coach Lamb expects to thrive in college.
"Sebastian is a great story, and all it took was for one school to be willing to take a chance on him and Georgia State did," the coach said. "They came in and saw what type of body he has and believe he will have a great career. He came here at 6-3, 215 pounds, and now he's 6-5 and 265 after lifting weights for the first time ever."
Lamb expects all-state cornerback Donnell Anthony to sign a scholarship in the coming weeks.
Lindsey Young is a sports writer at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who started work at the Chattanooga News-Free Press 24 years ago. He covers the Northwest Georgia prep beat and NASCAR. Lindsey’s hometown is Ringgold, Ga., and he graduated from Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe High School. He received an associate’s degree from Dalton Junior College (now Dalton State) and a bachelor’s degree in communications from UTC. He has won several writing awards, including two Tennessee Sports ...