Montgomery-area football recruits make college choices on early signing day
The Generals held a 12-6 lead against Park Crossing on Oct. 16, but they had played a sloppy half. Hudson and his assistants huddled outside the locker room and decided which adjustments they'd deploy. Hudson was prepared to scream at the team to quiet down as he walked in.
But they were silent. Anquin Barnes, the four-year stalwart of Lee's offensive and defensive lines, stood up. Barnes had led a talk with the team, he told Hudson. The team had it covered.
"How can you yell and fuss when your kids are already focused on their jobs because of (Barnes) leadership?" Hudson said.
On Wednesday afternoon, Barnes sat in Lee's auditorium and completed a lifelong mission. His signature made his commitment to Alabama official. The 18th-best prospect in the state, per 247Sports, celebrated on early signing day with friends and family.
Masks hid the smiles of administrators who also attended the ceremony. In the Lee community, Barnes was a jester. He had a recurring joke about being an excellent fisherman, Hudson said. In a short speech before the signing, Hudson likened Barnes to a son.
"He did everything we would want from him as a player on and off the field," Hudson said.
Barnes was the definition of a plug-and-play lineman. Hudson admitted that his defensive game plan will change next year now that the 6-foot-5, 299-pound defensive tackle won't clog running lanes.
Next year, Barnes will join Nick Saban's defense that routinely produces NFL talent. Since Barnes was 5 years old, he said, he wanted to play for Alabama. He confirmed his decision after a trip to the 2017 Alabama-LSU game, a 24-10 Crimson Tide win.
Back in Lee's auditorium, Barnes signed his name with a smile and tugged on his Alabama hat, cementing his future.
"I'd like to take my talents to the University of Alabama," Barnes said. "I wanna say long live Chop. I want to thank everybody that supported me through this journey. Thank my mom, thank God, thank coaches. ... I love y'all. Roll Tide."
Here's a breakdown of other River Region commitments from early signing day:
Ian Jackson, Alabama
OLB (6-2, 225)
247Sports composite: 4-star, No. 13 OLB
Twitter handle: @IJackson_3
Jackson totaled 106 tackles for the Lions with two sacks, five quarterback pressures and one fumble recovery. He led Prattville's defense that allowed 15 points a game.
Anquin Barnes, Alabama
DT (6-5, 299)
Robert E. Lee High
247Sports composite: 3-star, No. 34 DT
Twitter handle: @AnquinBarnes
Recorded 30 tackles, two sacks, six pass breakups. Barnes, also an offensive lineman for Lee, played more than 100 snaps a game and "got used to it."
Barnes explained his decision in his own words for The Advertiser.
Harrison Wallace, Penn State
WR (6-1, 180)
247Sports composite: 3-star, No. 88 WR
Twitter handle: @iam_trey_10
Caught seven touchdowns, had nine total scores in 12 games. He had 696 receiving yards for the Patriots. Committed to the Nittany Lions late in the process. Some coaches believe he may be a "steal."
Bernard Gooden, Wake Forest
DT (6-1, 278)
247Sports composite: 3-star, No. 64 DT
Twitter handle: @big_time321
Posted 75 total tackles, three sacks and four forced fumbles. The Demon Deacons envision Gooden as a defensive end.
Reggie Davis, Florida Atlantic
RB (5-11, 180)
Robert E. Lee High
247Sports composite: 3-star, No. 96 RB
Twitter handle: @Reggie_D32
Averaged 229.8 yards per game for the Generals in 11 games. He ran for 13 touchdowns and scored six others. Davis explained his decision in his own words for The Advertiser.
Joshua Rudolph, Austin Peay
ILB (6-0, 226)
247Sports composite: 3-star, No. 58 ILB
Twitter handle: @joshuaRudolph14
Tallied 105 total tackles and a sack in seven games for the Thunderbirds. Also helped his parents with the family's cleaning service throughout the season. He registered two tackles, a sack and a quarterback hit in the Alabama-Mississippi All-star game on Dec. 12 at Cramton Bowl.
Lawrence McCloud, Georgia Southern
DT (6-1, 265)
247Sports composite: 2-star, No. 141 DT
Twitter handle: @lawrencemcclo11
Totaled 25 tackles for loss and six sacks with the Patriots. Led Pike Road's defense (8.9 points a game) in tackles.