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34 DAYS TO KICKOFF: Alex Barnes

In which BracketCat counts down the 34th day until kickoff with a profile of running back Alex Barnes.

Jealous of Oklahoma's Samaje Perine? Well, K-State might have found its own surprise freshman running back in Alex Barnes.
Jealous of Oklahoma's Samaje Perine? Well, K-State might have found its own surprise freshman running back in Alex Barnes.
Brett Deering/Getty Images

#34 Alex Barnes
True Freshman
6-1 | 226
Pittsburg, Kan.


Position: Running Back

Previous College: None

Projection: Redshirt

Status: On Scholarship

Brandon Alex Barnes (b. Oct. 27, 1996) is a 3-star running back who graduated from high school in December and enrolled at K-State a semester early. He will battle for playing time as a true freshman, although he'll likely redshirt.

Barnes played under head coach Tom Nickelson at Pittsburg High School, where he led the Purple Dragons to a 9-2 record and the quarterfinals of the state championship during a stellar senior season.

He totaled 4,835 rushing yards and 83 touchdowns during his career, including 2,361 yards and 38 touchdowns in 2014, breaking the Southeast Kansas League (SEK) single-season and career records for rushing yards and TDs.

A two-time SEK Offensive Player of the Year honoree, Barnes also earned All-State honors as a junior, while he was a four-time first-team all-league and all-county performer. He also was involved in Special Olympics and mentoring.

Barnes was named one of the top 11 players in the state, and to the All-Class 5A teams by The Topeka Capital-Journal and The Wichita Eagle. He was regarded as one of the top 12 players in the state by the Kansas Football Coaches Association and named to the organization’s All-State Class 5A team.

He chose K-State over offers from Kansas and Minnesota. Barnes has an especially funny story about the former:

Barnes' visit to KU couldn't have come at a worse time, as he was on campus when head coach Charlie Weis was fired.

"I was scheduled to meet with him that morning for breakfast," Barnes said of the former NFL assistant.

"My mom and I were sitting at the hotel breakfast place, and we were waiting for like 30 minutes. An assistant came over and started telling us a bunch of stuff that wasn't true. I was on Twitter, and I saw that Charlie Weis had been fired and Clint Bowen had stepped in."

"It was a mess," Barnes said of the situation in Lawrence. "I just knew it wasn't going to be KU."

Barnes, who doesn't plan on redshirting, is pretty high on his own abilities:

"I'm a running back that can do it all," Barnes said of his game. "I run physically. I don't go down on first contact. I'll drag someone as far as I can until someone pulls me down. I can also go 80-yards and take it to the house. I have 4.4 speed, and great hands out of the backfield. It's going to be a fun four years."

So are his coach and some analysts who think he might make a better safety than a running back. But he rushed 10 times for 45 yards for the inferior White team, showing much promise at the latter position.