BA looks to add momentum before break, Barnett picks Vols
By Austin Stanley, for the Williamson Herald
Brentwood Academy is coming off a big win at home against McCallie, but has to move on as Baylor (5-2) comes to town this week.
After dropping three games in a row, the Eagles (5-3) are trying to string together four straight wins before hosting the state’s top team, Ensworth, after the bye week. Shutting down the Baylor offense is the telling stat on the Red Raiders. In five wins this season, Baylor averages 41.4 points per game, opposed to only 10.5 points per game in its two loses.
The Red Raiders drive West from Chattanooga in a bad mood after getting blown out at home last week against Oakland, 31-7. After facing a powerful Oakland offense, Baylor gets to see the speed of BA. The Eagles offense, quarterbacked by Thomas Swafford, has scoring threats all over the field in receivers CJ Sanders and Brandon Taylor and running backs Shon Lumkins, Shawn Brashers and Jacob Cretin.
Big news was announced last week as BA senior defensive end, Derek Barnett, committed to play football at the University of Tennessee. Vanderbilt was in the two team race, but Barnett said the Vols turned out to be the better fit.
“Vanderbilt is a great school,” Barnett said Friday. “I love all their coaches, but I just felt like Tennessee was the right fit for me, my mom and my family. It’s just convenient and I love the tradition so all around it’s just a good decision for me.
Barnett ranks as a 4-star recruit on the Rivals, 24/7 Sports and ESPN databases. He joins a Volunteer recruiting class that’s ranked as one of the top in the country. This class includes two other Williamson County athletes: Independence’s Vic Wharton and Rashaan Gaulden.
The relationship between the two Independence Eagles and the Brentwood Academy Eagle had its impact. Gaulden and Barnett were former teammates when both attended BA two years ago. With Gaulden and Wharton already committed to the Vols they did their best to bring in Barnett.
“[Gaulden] knows how I am,” Barnett said. “I’ll tell him, and we’re best friends, so if he gets annoying I’ll tell him that. He really didn’t pressure me, but they knew. He and Vic [Wharton], for a while that I was coming to UT.”
The Vols fan base made an impact on Barnett when he visited the Orange and White spring game in April that was attended by over 61,000 fans.
“They just love football. And I like it too, so it fits perfect for me,” Barnett said.
His future head coach, Butch Jones was in the stands last Friday night for the 39-16 win over McCallie. With his team having a bye weekend, Jones had the perfect opportunity to watch his newest commitment of the 2014 class.
“I really appreciate coach [Jones] for being here. They want me bad,” said Barnett.
Barnett had scholarship offers from over 17 schools including Ohio State, Florida State, LSU and South Carolina.
Posted on: 10/17/2013