AUSTIN, Texas -- There’s not a game that LaBradford "Del" Barnes (Henderson, Texas/Henderson) plays in that he is not the focal point of opposing defenses and fans alike.
Anyone who can lead his team to a state championship victory with a broken left wrist, as Barnes did as a junior last season, has a way of captivating people.
That was again the case on Friday when Henderson traveled to Carthage. Only this time Barnes played under the watchful eye of Longhorns co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Bryan Harsin.
“It was just a different type of experience knowing that he was there watching my every move,” Barnes said.
It was the first time Harsin had seen Barnes play in person since he inquired about the quarterback through a phone call with Henderson coach Rickey Meeks on Sept. 19.
The outcome of the game -- a 42-21 loss -- didn’t go in Barnes’ favor, but he thought he played well in front of Harsin.
“I think I did a pretty decent job,” said Barnes, who was 15-of-21 for 201 yards and two touchdowns. “I think I could have done some things better. But overall I did a decent job.”
It was only the third loss Barnes has experienced in 23 games as a starter. He didn’t think Harsin’s presence added any pressure.
“I just knew I had to do what I always do, and go out and try and help my team to win,” he said. “I shouldn’t let the pressure bother me. If a coach comes to see me, I should just keep doing what I always do and let the rest of the stuff take care of itself.”
Harsin left before the game ended and Barnes says he hopes to catch up with the Texas coach soon.
The Longhorns are one of a few schools that have looked at Barnes (6-0, 175). Texas Tech, New Hampshire, Dartmouth, McMurray University and Stephen F. Austin are the other schools.
The lack of interest from top-tier programs is bothersome to Barnes.
“I just know that I need to keep playing to show them that I am the type of quarterback that they want,” he said. “I am just focused on leading this team, and I think that will take care of a lot. I can’t worry about what they think. They will come around eventually.”
Barnes said that he is healthy right now and much more of a leader with this team than he was last season, his first as a starting quarterback.
“This second season has helped me with my personality, just knowing that it is not about me,” Barnes said. “I have to get a whole bunch of other guys ready for the game, make sure they are prepared and focused in order for us to meet our goals at the end of the year.”
Barnes is one of several quarterbacks Texas has looked into. The others include T.J. Millweard (Fort Worth, Texas/All Saints), Tommy Armstrong (Cibolo, Texas/Steele) and Jalen Overstreet (Tatum, Texas/Tatum).
Millweard is committed to Arizona State and Armstrong is committed to Nebraska.