- Corey Long, Reporter, RecruitingNation
Wide receiver Johnell Barnes (Fort Myers, Fla./Dunbar) gave a verbal commitment to Duke this week, becoming the seventh player in the Class of 2013 to commit to the Blue Devils.
The 6-foot, 168-pound junior chose Duke over UConn, Iowa State, Northwestern, Western Kentucky and UMass.
"Coach [David] Cutcliffe and the staff just showed me that they wanted to me to come into the program and try to be a difference maker," Barnes said. "At the end of the day they were the ones that pursued me the most and made me feel like I was a priority."
Barnes said he was impressed with where the program is headed. He visited the school recently and was impressed by the upgraded facilities. The strong academic reputation of the school also played a huge part in Barnes' decision.
"I feel like Duke offers me the best of both worlds," Barnes said. "Academically it's one of the most prestigious schools in the nation but they also take their athletics seriously here. So if I don't make it to the NFL I know I'll be leaving with a good degree and will have several job opportunities."
Barnes had 611 receiving yards and seven touchdowns as a junior. He also played cornerback and was being recruited at both positions.
"I think wide receiver is the best position for me long term," Barnes said. "I'll play anything as long as I can compete but I'm happy to have an opportunity to come in on offense."