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June 12, 2006

Barnes meets Rice, will decide soon

Charlotte (N.C.) Independence wide receiver Jason Barnes took his second official visit of the summer to South Carolina over the weekend, and he found this trip even more productive than the first.

"The first time I went down to South Carolina, only Coach (Fred) Chatham was there because the rest of the coaches were out recruiting," the 6-foot-3.5, 197-pound Barnes said. "This time all of the coaches were there, and I got to spend a lot of time with Coach (Steve) Spurrier Jr. and the rest of the coaches."

Barnes, who ran the 40-yard dash at the Athens NIKE Camp in 4.45 seconds, also met two more key figures at the South Carolina program.

"Coach Spurrier Jr. took me to meet with his dad not too long after I got there. I liked him a lot. He was telling me how there is no doubt he will throw the ball, and if I'm a good player, I'll get plenty of opportunities to make plays. I also met Sidney Rice. He just told me it's a great school and a great offense. He thought it would be a good place for me, too. He had 70 catches as a redshirt freshman, so that's pretty amazing."

Barnes, who also ran the short shuttle in 4.37 seconds in Athens, picked up his second scholarship offer on a recent unofficial visit to North Carolina.

"North Carolina offered me about two weeks ago," he said. "I enjoyed my trip up there, too. They have nice facilities, and I like that they have that nice NIKE contract and that Oakley contract for their gear. I didn't expect to like it up there as much as I did. It was nice."

Barnes is getting closer to making a decision, and a border battle is shaping up.

"I'm going to visit North Carolina again this coming Saturday with my parents. Then I'm going to go back to South Carolina with my parents the Saturday after that. I should be ready to pick one or the other after that."

Neither team holds the edge down the stretch.

"I couldn't say which one I like better as of today. Both of them offer a good opportunity for me. Once my parents go with me, I think I'll know which one I should pick. I'll also talk to Coach (Tom) Knotts to see what he thinks, and then I'll commit."

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