Last week, Jeannette’s Marcus Barnes became the first player to commit to the new coaching staff at William and Mary.
When head coach coach Mike London and offensive coordinator Brennan Marion moved from Howard to coach the Tribe in late , they knew they’d want to recruit Western Pennsylvania. Marion is a Greensburg Salem alum and had successfully mined the WPIAL for recruits when the duo was at Howard.
Barnes becoming the first to commit to the Tribe is an important step, but that alone won’t make him the Tribe’s most important connection in the region. That honor will continue to be bestowed upon Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin. But of course, those William & Mary men have to stick together.
“[Tomlin] texted me,” Barnes said to Pittsburgh Sports Now. “He told me to make sure we do what we’ve got to do. He said they treat us like kings down there and to put a beating on Albany.”
The staff had already offered Barnes, a 6-foot-4 wide receiver, while at Howard and it was one of the schools he was considering. He also had offers to Air Force, Army, Navy, Holy Cross, Morgan State, Robert Morris and Saint Francis. “I liked the Howard coaching staff and I liked the energy the bring,” Barnes said. “They also have a lot of trust in me and what I could do.”
Part of the allure is Marion’s “Go-go” offense, an up-tempo attack that spreads the ball around and had Howard in the Top 15 of most offensive categories.
“He goes down to every little bit of personnel he has,” Barnes said. “It goes to the freshmen, too. If you’re good, you’re going to play. He spreads the ball around. He gets it to his playmakers. He doesn’t go off how many stars you have and stuff like that. If you put the work in, you’re going to play. … When they moved, I was a little upset at first.”
But when the landing place was announced as William and Mary, Barnes was all smiles.
“All my family is from Virginia,” he said. “Everybody lives down there, and they’ve never even gotten to see them. … William and Mary also has a better program, a better school with a lot more education opportunities.”
London was announced as head coach on Nov. 19, Marion was announced as offensive coordinator on Nov. 27, he extended an offer to Barnes a day later, and the Jayhawks’ speedster committed on Dec. 4.
“I just thought that was something I wanted to be a part of,” he said.
Given the success that London and Marion have had in recruiting in this area, Barnes certainly will not be the last player from Western Pennsylvania to pick the Tribe.