Nevada prep star Barnes seeking return to Florida

Class of 2022 four-star running back Jovantae Barnes is considered one of the top prospects in Nevada and has legitimate interest in Florida State proceeding his official visit over the weekend.

Barnes revealed what stood out most to him about Florida State on this official visit, which surprisingly is something that has already stood out since this staff began recruiting him about two years ago.

“The coaches,” said Barnes. “Being a sophomore, getting recruited by a lot of top-notch colleges and just seeing what everybody has to say, some of them are lying and some are being real. But there’s not only one coach on this staff being real. All of them coached with each other way before they came here, and I like that they always had that connection. Coach (Kenny) Dillingham and Coach YAC (David Johnson) and Coach (Mike) Norvell, they have all been keeping it real and those are the guys, as a running back, you mostly want to be close with.”

The Desert Pines (Nev.) High School product expanded on his relationship with Dillingham and the time they spent together during his weekend visit.

“It was great,” said Barnes. “He’s somebody that is like family up here already, so I love him. He’s a true and honest guy. When he says something, he means it. He actually made a trip down to (Las) Vegas and talked to my coach about me, just telling me everything that he wanted and he’s sticking to his word.”

Barnes also attended the game versus Miami and explained why he liked what he saw from his position on the field.

“They didn’t only rotate their running backs, but they have six running backs on the roster, and they used five, so that says a lot,” said Barnes. “It means Coach YAC is doing his job and he’s making sure everybody touches the ball and not just one person. He’s making sure everybody’s healthy before they get to the league, so I like that.”

“Nobody gave up,” continued Barnes, now speaking about the entire team. “The energy from the first quarter led into the fourth quarter and nothing ever changed. Nobody ever gave up and never had a doubt about losing the game, so I liked that a lot.”

After the game concluded, recruits were allowed into the locker room with the home team to celebrate a massive win and see it all first-hand. This concept is not unique to FSU, but Barnes said this experience was different from anything he had seen on previous visits.

“You can just see it’s a brotherhood and a family,” said Barnes. “There’s no fakeness. Everybody believes in everybody. Even though some running backs don’t get (playing time) like the other ones do, they never hate on anybody, so they always keep each other up and make sure that they’re staying on track with what they’re doing. People that are starting are making sure those who aren’t starting are doing their job and making sure they know everything and are good for when their time comes.”

It is unusual for a kid in Nevada to feel so comfortable on a visit to a school in Florida, but Barnes is originally from Orlando, where his immediate family still resides. 

Does playing at a school in Florida interest Barnes?

“Yeah, of course,” said Barnes. “My whole family is from down here, dad and mom, so having that connection with family and them wanting me to come to a Florida school. They want me to go wherever I want to but just knowing they’re in Florida and they’d get to see me play anytime they want to. They want me to come to a Florida school, so that connection, and knowing I’m close with the coaches, it’s pretty fun that I’m kind of leaning towards FSU.”

Barnes has taken many unofficial visits since June, including his first trip to Tallahassee on June 1, but is undecided where to take his remaining official visits. He has taken one official to Alabama (Oct. 2) and will be at Oklahoma this weekend (Nov. 19). Barnes said he will utilize his last two visits between North Carolina, USC and Miami.

Barnes plans to sign in December during the early signing period and enroll early.