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34 DAYS TO 2017 KICKOFF: Alex Barnes

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In which BracketCat counts down the 34th day until the 2017 kickoff with a profile of running back Alex Barnes.

#34 Alex Barnes
If Baylor Bears fans see Alex Barnes (34) again anytime soon, it’ll be too soon considering he personally served as the epitaph of the Art Briles era. Too bad he’ll likely start the Big 12 opener against ... you guessed it, Baylor.
Ray Carlin-USA TODAY Sports

#34 Alex Barnes

Redshirt Sophomore | 6-1 | 227 lbs. | Pittsburg, Kansas
Alex Barnes
Alex Barnes
Courtesy Kansas State Athletics
  • Position: Running Back
  • Previous College: None
  • Projection: Starter
  • Status: On Scholarship

Brandon Alex Barnes (b. Oct. 27, 1996) is a powerful running back who in 2016 had one of the best seasons at the position by a rookie in school history. This year, he will complete for the starting spot in the backfield as a sophomore and is on the 2017 Doak Walker Award watch list.

A big, young rusher who graduated high school early and participated in spring practices before redshirting in 2015, 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 touchdowns.

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 is involved in the Special Olympics and mentoring.

Barnes was named one of the top 11 players in the state, as well as to the All-Class 5A teams by The Topeka Capital-Journal and The Wichita Eagle. He was 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 also had offers from Kansas and Minnesota.

After his redshirt season in 2015, Barnes saw action in 11 games at running back and on special teams. He totaled 442 rushing yards and six touchdowns on 56 carries, ranking second in school history in rushing yards and touchdowns by a freshman.

Barnes tied for 10th nationally in rushing touchdowns among freshmen and averaged 7.89 yards per carry, which led the Big 12 and was first in school history among players with 50 or more attempts. He was the only player in the Big 12 with at least 50 attempts not to have a negative rush.

The highlight of the season came when Barnes carded career highs in yards (129), carries (19) and rushing touchdowns (4) at Baylor, setting the K-State freshman single-game rushing touchdown record and ranking third in rushing yards. His touchdown total against the Bears also tied for third overall in school history.

Barnes came back with 103 yards the next game against Kansas and became the first freshman in school history with consecutive 100-yard games. He had a career-long rush of 31 yards for a touchdown against the Jayhawks.

Barnes went for 73 yards on eight carries against Florida Atlantic in his first action at running back, a game that featured a 22-yard rush on his first career attempt. He carded 72 yards on eight carries — including a 27-yarder — against Oklahoma State.

Last year, Barnes picked up Big 12 All-Freshman honors from Athlon, while he was a second-team Academic All-Big 12 pick.