His first name is popular in basketball circles, and his surname is known because of his father’s accomplishments.
Yet if you put them together, the name Jordan Barnes isn’t a household moniker in northeast Indiana.
Not yet, anyway.
When the Homestead senior linebacker committed this summer to play his college football at Michigan, there were many casual observers thinking, “Who’s he?”
Maybe lost in the shuffle, the son of former Wayne standout and NFL player Roosevelt Barnes excelled last year with 61 tackles, five tackles for losses and a sack. He earned a spot on the All-NHC first team.
As a sophomore, he had 75 tackles.
According to the Rivals.com recruiting service, Barnes is the third-best prospect in Indiana and the 22nd-best linebacker overall.
“At the beginning of the year, he was a little underrated. But by the end of the year, a lot of the conference coaches knew who he was, and he got better and better as the season went on,” Homestead coach Chad Zolman said. “His athleticism got better over the offseason. His dad took him to some speed and agility stuff in Florida. He did a combine down there, and at that point, things started happening for him on a national level. After that, he got a lot of notice.”
Jordan Barnes admitted having a father who has played at Purdue and with the Detroit Lions as a linebacker, and is now a sports agent, has helped in his development.
“It is an advantage to some point, but he didn’t really talk to any of the coaches for me,” Barnes said. “He did go (play in) the pros, though, and he knows what it takes to get there. I will work out with him, and I think if I continue to listen to him I can go on and play at the next level.
“He teaches me everything, so that’s an advantage to have someone who has been to the top level and he can teach me so I can get there.”
The 6-foot, 225-pound Jordan Barnes got the Wolverines to notice him by persistence. When the first highlight DVD he sent to Michigan got lost during the transition of head coaches – Rich Rodriguez replaced Lloyd Carr last winter – he sent another one and then made an oral commitment to the program in June.
“Roosevelt did a good job of getting his name out there,” Zolman said. “He went on a broader basis, and that really helped. I put his name on questionnaires and sent some tapes.
“He will have a target on him every Friday night. No sneaking up now.”
Going to Michigan won’t be a homecoming for Barnes, but it does get him closer to his roots. He was born in nearby Detroit and lived there until the fourth grade.
“That’s definitely nice to go back,” Barnes said. “I still have aunts and uncles there. It is nice to go back to where they are so they can come and see my games. If I would have gone to Alabama, I don’t know who would have seen my games.
“It is just more of a city atmosphere in Detroit, and here (in Fort Wayne) it is down to earth. I was upset when I moved here. But now I couldn’t imagine moving back to Detroit, even though I am going to Ann Arbor next summer.”
With everybody knowing Jordan Barnes’ name these days, there might more demands on him during his senior season.
“In other people’s eyes, there might be more pressure,” he said, “But for me I am just going to go out there and play my game and do what I know (how) to do and try to get to a state championship.”