We’re previewing Maryland football’s roster one position group at a time this summer. This week, we’re taking a look at the tight ends.
After Sean wrote about rising sophomore Chigoziem Okonkwo on Tuesday and Justin previewed what the newcomer Tyler Mabry will bring to the table yesterday, I will be examining Noah Barnes and the impact he could have as a rising junior.
Noah Barnes, TE, No. 80
Year: Redshirt junior
Hometown: Auburn, Ala.
High School: Auburn HS
2018 stats: 11 appearances, no stats
Career stats: 19 appearances, 2 kick return attempts, 18 yards
Coming out of Auburn High School, Noah Barnes was rated as a two-star prospect and was the No. 84 player in the state of Alabama in his class, according to 247Sports composite rankings. After originally committing to Memphis, Barnes was offered by Maryland and took an official visit to College Park. Two days later, he decommitted from Memphis and flipped his pledge to the Terps.
Barnes’ impact has mostly been on special teams.
After redshirting in 2016, Barnes saw the majority of his time on special teams during the 2017 season. He returned two kicks as part of the return team, running them back 13 and five yards.
Last season, Barnes appeared in 11 games but didn’t making any statistical impact or catch any passes. However, he did get a couple targets, and actually did catch a pass in the Texas game, but was unable to get his feet in bounds in the back of the end zone. Still, Maryland held on to beat Texas for the second straight year.
He’ll be a versatile option at tight end this fall.
In Maryland’s 2019 spring game, Barnes got another opportunity to catch the football in a new offensive system and hauled in four passes for 11 yards. During the spring game, the tight ends combined for a total of 17 receptions and 125 yards, which offered a glimpse of what could come for a deep tight end position group. Maryland head coach Mike Locksley has previously stated how vital tight ends are to his offenses, with their ability to set the edge with their blocking or match up with a defensive back or linebacker.
Barnes will most likely back up Mabry and Okonkwo. But, as he has demonstrated on special teams, the redshirt junior could be incorporated more in Maryland’s ground attack with his size and strength, which may work in the Terps’ favor.
With Mabry and/or Okonkwo expected to play on the majority of passing downs, Barnes’ ability to catch the football could come more into play during a play-action scenario for Maryland. While not quite atop the depth chart, Barnes should be good for a few targets and will give the Terps another body to block for their talented backfield.