DEKALB — Garrett Barnas is seeing Northern lights.
The former Bureau Valley all-state quarterback told the BCR last month he was enrolling at Northern Illinois University to play Division I football for the Huskies. Having had his scholarship offer pulled from him from Syracuse University, Barnas did not wish to speak further until he was admitted to NIU.
NIU officials won’t confirm that Barnas, who played two years at Harper Junior College, is coming to DeKalb. NIU associate athletic director for communications Donna Turner told the BCR Barnas has not signed with NIU, but it is “their understanding” he has been admitted and is planning to enroll.
NIU assistant coach and recruiting coordinator P.J. Fleck directed inquiries last week to head coach Jerry Kill, who has not responded to an e-mails.
Barnas’ mother, Judy Moore of Walnut, said her son has been accepted at NIU.
At NIU, Barnas told the BCR he would be making the move from quarterback to defensive back with the Huskies. He would have two years of eligibility at NIU, which could spread over three years if he redshirts.
NIU went last season 6-7, falling to Lousiana Tech 17-10 in the Indepence Bowl. The Huskies will open the 2009 season at Wisconsin and have three games televised by ESPN.
Barnas led Bureau Valley to the 3A state championship in 2005, defeating Tolono Unity 34-7 as quarterback for his stepdad, Dave Moore, the former BV coach, now at Princeton.
He moved on to Harper College in Palatine and excelled for the Hawks, scoring numerous school records. In his last game, he led the Hawks to a stunning comeback in the Sun Bowl Game in Phoenix, scoring 33 points in the fourth quarter for a 39-38 win. He threw for a school record 360 yards, three touchdowns and was named as the game’s MVP.
Barnas, the No. 1 ranked JUCO quarterback, had been pursued by the likes of Rutgers and South Florida, before receiving a scholarship offer from Syracuse in August. He verbally committed to the Orangemen in mid-December, but new head coach Doug Marrone, who succeeded newly-fired Greg Robinson, rescinded Barnas’ scholarship just before Christmas.
Dragan Teonic, Barnas coach at Harper, who has since left the Hawks program, was incensed over Syracuse’s decision, saying, “I wish them nothing but the worse of luck. I hope they continue to be the Detroit Lions of college football.”
Barnas graduated from Harper at mid-term and returned home to Walnut. He has spent the offseason lifting weights at the Bureau County Metro Center and is playing in the Princeton Park District’s 4-on-4 spring basketball league.
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