Kyrs Barnes has become one of the fastest rising linebacker prospects on the west coast and parlayed his season as a junior and a great performance at The Opening regionals in LA to an invitation to The Opening finals in July.
He has an old school physical mentality to playing the linebacker position and is a fun player to watch on film.
Barnes has right frame to play as an inside linebacker and has room to add more weight. He flashes sideline to sideline speed and has fairly fluid hips.
What stands out more than anything on film for Barnes is the way he brings it every time he tackles. He punishes people when he hits them and it can often result in turnovers from him popping the ball loose. He’s a seek and destroy type of player. When he sees it, he uses great speed and takes a good inside-out angle to the football before hitting through ball carriers.
He shows flashes of that same mentality as a blitzer. He could be a devastating player in this regard if he can concentrate on perfecting his timing.
The one thing I worry about with Barnes is that he didn’t show a great ability to get off of blocks and wasn’t the quickest in terms of recognition skills. He certainly made up for that with his athleticism, but he’ll be facing much better players who will get to him at the second level if he is late reacting to plays and must diagnose things faster as he progresses as a linebacker versus the run.
He showed ball skills in coverage and should be able to run with most running backs if asked to cover off in man. With so many mobile quarterbacks at the next level, he could end up being the perfect spy in pass coverage because he is the kind of athlete that can track down players well in the open field.
Barnes’ best fit is likely in a scheme that keeps him protected where he can flow freely to the football. Playing the Will in a 4-3 is where I would slot him.
From a physical standpoint, I love Barnes’ potential and think he can become a big time three down linebacker at the next level as long. I don’t think he’ll be a plug and play player (most linebackers aren’t), but eventually I see him emerging as a starter and becoming a very good one.
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Jamie Uyeyama was a way too small defensive tackle at Idaho State University and a more appropriately sized rush end at Simon Fraser University. He was a coach at the college and high school level and is the son of Ron Uyeyama, a member of the Delta Sports Hall of Fame and high school football coach for over 30 years (hence the site name, Son of a Coach).