AURORA — D’Andre Barnes knew he was a Power 5 player on tape. He was just waiting for somebody to press play.
And at the last moment, the University of Nebraska did.
“I knew there would be an opportunity somewhere late in the process, to be where I belonged,” Barnes said. “I knew I had to be patient, and it was hard at times to do that, but I believed that Power 5 chance would come.”
The Regis Jesuit senior signed a national letter of intent to play for the Huskers on Wednesday after Nebraska swooped in to recruit him last week. Barnes took his official visit last Friday, a few days after Nebraska offensive coordinator/recruiter Marcus Satterfield discovered him during an impromptu visit with Raiders coach Danny Filleman.
“(Satterfield) happened to be in the area visiting other schools (on Jan. 23), called me, and I told him to come by,” Filleman said. “We started talking in the weight room, and I asked him how he was doing on his 2023 commits. He told me, ‘We’re pretty much full, but we might be looking for one guy, maybe like a DB, but it’s got to be the right fit.’ I said you need to look at D’Andre.”
That’s when the two turned on Barnes’ film.
Satterfield only needed to watch five plays on Filleman’s laptop before he was on the phone with Nebraska secondary coach Evan Cooper, and then head coach Matt Rhule, as they scrambled to scout the under-the-radar receiver/defensive back/returner and put together a recruiting plan.
Minutes later, Filleman pulled Barnes out of yoga class to meet Satterfield. Then Barnes’ parents scrambled to meet with Satterfield later in the evening in a whirlwind day Filleman described as “one of the crazier (recruiting roller coasters) I’ve been through in 26 years coaching.”
Barnes was doing the “sitting tree” pose when his teacher tapped on his shoulder to get out of class. Filleman and Satterfield were standing there at the door. Barnes’ patient wait was over.
“I’ll remember that day, and that moment, forever,” Barnes said.
Barnes wasn’t listed in the top 25 of Colorado’s recruits by 247Sports as recently as December. But his stock shot up late, and he checked in as the state’s No. 10 overall prospect in the class on Wednesday, a few days after Nebraska officially offered.
Barnes also had offers from Air Force, Wyoming, Nevada, Bowling Green, plus another late offer from BYU. But he went largely under-recruited on the Power 5 scene because he didn’t have a lot of film on the defensive side. Barnes only started playing safety full-time as a senior; in his first couple of varsity seasons, he was mostly a receiver and returner.
“He fell through the cracks for a variety of reasons, but there’s a reason why he didn’t sign early,” Filleman said. “Satterfield and I were just texting over the weekend, and he said D’Andre is one (the new Nebraska staff) is going to be talking about for a long time. Like, ‘Hey, look how we got this guy.’”
Barnes’ instant appeal on film — and why the Huskers were so quick to jump on him — is his speed and athleticism.
The 6-foot-1, 175-pounder was the 2021 Class 5A state champion in the 200 meters, and runs a 10.69-second 100-meter dash. That speed translates to the football field. As a senior, Barnes had a pick-six and a kickoff return TD in addition to 37 catches for 785 yards and nine TDs, including one catch that went 97 yards.
The 17-year-old projects as a high safety in the Blackshirts defense, but could also play cornerback and the Huskers haven’t ruled out using him on offense, too.
“It’s hard to coach that type of speed,” Filleman said. “He’s got the length to him and a lot of the physical tools.”
Barnes was one of four Raiders signing Wednesday in Aurora. Quarterback Exander Carroll and receiver Dylan McCollough are both headed to Colorado Mesa, while cornerback Josh Harvey signed with Emporia State. Plus, the Raiders recognized tight end Andrew Metzger (Kansas State) and outside linebacker Hayden Moore (Michigan), a couple All-Colorado seniors who already signed during the early signing period in December.
“These guys raised the bar for this program,” Filleman said.
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