Cade Barnard isn’t about hype or extra attention.
The jack-of-all-trades athlete from Seminole High School is a hard-nosed two-way football player, the type that smacks people in the mouth on defense and doesn’t shy away from contact on offense. But, somehow, he managed to have the best commitment announcement of this recruiting cycle.
It didn’t come with any flashy graphics or special effects. In an old-fashioned homemade video, Barnard set up targets with school emblems in a desolate part of West Texas, whipped out a pistol and shot them down one by one until only a single target remained.
The pick was Army.
“My brother actually told me that I needed to bring extra targets in case I missed or shot down the Army target,” Barnard said with a laugh. “But I said, man, I got this. Committing to Army, I felt like it was a good way to do it because, after football, I’m going to be doing some of that stuff, too.”
Barnard practices with his brother, who is a competitive shooter, every weekend and has become quite the marksman. He’s also a talented actor. In fact, Barnard was named the best actor at his district meet and advanced to state in one act as a junior.
While he’s a man of many talents, Barnard is a truly special football player. He is the heart and soul of the Seminole defense at linebacker and is also a key weapon on offense at running back. At 6-foot-2, 220 pounds, Barnard has the skillset and versatility to play on either side of the ball at the next level, but Army already has an idea of where it wants to use him.
“I’m probably going to play fullback,” Barnard said. “It’s a big position for them. I might play linebacker for them, too. I don’t know. It’ll just depend on what happens when I get there. Right now, it’s fullback in that great triple option offense, which is a good situation for me.”
Barnard committed to Army over offers from Bowling Green, Colorado State, Louisiana Tech, Nevada, New Mexico State, North Texas, Texas State, UTEP and a handful of other FBS programs.
But for him, the decision to side with Army was simple.
“What do people make decisions on? It’s a life decision for me,” Barnard said. “I had offers from other state schools and Mountain West schools that were probably ranked higher. But for me, it was more than just football.Being able to serve my country and play football at the same time is awesome. It’s a phenomenal place to be. I love the guys up there. That’s what led me to the decision.”
Seminole Head Coach Kent Jackson was quick to applaud Barnard’s decision and believes the Black Knights are getting more than just a talented football player.
“What people don’t understand is that he is an exceptional player, but the best part is who he is,” Jackson said. “He is one of the highest character young men I’ve ever been around. He knows how to be unselfish. You would never know he’s going to West Point by the way he acts. He always makes it about the team, and that’s why they rally around him.”
And Seminole certainly has rallied around Barnard.
After falling to Lubbock High in the season opener, the Indians have rattled off eight straight victories, including a monumental win over regional power Sweetwater last Friday night. They now have an opportunity to win an outright district title and make a deep run in the state playoffs.
“He’s a cornerstone,” said Seminole tight end Reese Moore, who is committed to Texas. “He really brings up the intensity and the focus. He’s a leader on the defense, and he just likes to go on offense.”
Barnard played an instrumental role in Seminole’s upset win over Sweetwater, making big plays on offense, defense and special teams. The Indians are sure to lean on him with the postseason right around the corner. While Barnard is excited about his future at Army, his focus at this time is helping Seminole hoist a trophy at the end of December.
“After that loss to Lubbock High, we have really stepped it up,” Barnard said. “Shout out to the linemen because they’ve done a phenomenal job. This win (over Sweetwater) was amazing. We just have to keep it going. We can do some great things.”
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