Jared Barber is a true freshman linebacker who came to the Mountaineers by way of Davie County High School in Mocksville, NC, where he led his team to a North Carolina class 4A state championship appearance in 2010. Over his high school career, he collected 529 total tackles, 78 tackles for loss, 18.5 sacks and one interception, starting all four seasons.
Barber is starting to earn the trust of Defensive Coordinator Jeff Casteel (who also serves as his position coach) to the point where he is seeing more action on the field. While he has seen playing time in several games thus far this year, gathering up 9 tackles, Barber saw significant time this past week against Louisville. His emergence as a more trusted presence in the middle linebacking spot has allowed Coach Casteel to move Najee Goode to the outside positions where his speed can better be utilized.
Whether it's a matter of trust or perhaps a lack of options that has led to more playing time is up for debate. Here's Coach Holgorsen's take:
"(Barber's) a true freshman that's been doing a good job in practice," Holgorsen said. "We put him out there based on probably not being extremely happy with some of the other people."
Either way, Barber is doing his best to take advantage of this chance:
"It's nerve-racking being a freshman and stuff," Barber said, "but you just have to go out there make a play and not really think about it."
Most of us realized WVU's linebacking corps were young and inexperienced coming into this season. It should be fun to watch the younger linebackers, including Barber grow in confidence and experience as they become more and more familiar with the 3-3-5 defense.