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The Path to Norman
OUDNA was in Robert Barnes his whole life. As the son of former Sooner Reggie Barnes, Robert grew up with OU all around. Part of the 2017 class, Robert committed to the Sooners about a year and a half before his signing day.
— Robert Barnes (@r0bertbarnes) September 7, 2015
Barnes came into OU a very highly-ranked safety with offers from all over the country. The Barnes family were some of the more vocal supporters of SS17, informing recruits and families alike of the excellence of the OU football program.
Career So Far
TFB heard nothing but great things about the hard work, talent, and athleticism of Barnes the summer before his freshman season. Continuous word of him pushing for a big, and potentially starting, role was the norm. He didn’t end up with a starting role, but played often and well during the first half of the season, despite some minor injuries. The second half of the season, Barnes was one of several freshman defenders to come on very strong. He earned his first start against TCU and played very well.
To me, this play by Barnes in the Ohio State game was one of the most important, yet most overlooked, plays of the season. Barnes kept himself in the play, hustled to take an excellent angle on Barrett, and prevented the first down. With Ohio State up by a field goal in the third quarter, a first down there would have been a big momentum swing. Instead, with an Ohio State punt the next play, a Lee Morris touchdown catch a few minutes later put the Sooners in the lead for good.
All spring and most of the summer, word out of practice was that the free safety spot was a battle between guys like Kahlil Haughton, Chanse Sylvie, and Robert Barnes. Barnes has battled a hamstring issue off and on this summer as well. Unfortunately, Sylvie is out for the season with an injury, resulting in one less person battling for the job. Justin Broiles has recently made a strong push for the spot as well, however, so competition is still fierce. Whoever ends up with the job, Barnes will play often this season and look to build upon his freshman campaign.