Barbour anxious to bounce back
High ankle sprains can linger for several months, causing sharp pain during hard cuts, and Jaylan Barbour knows more about the injury than he ever wanted.
Barbour, a 5-10, 175-pound receiver/cornerback, relies heavily on his cutting ability.
When he entered high school, Barbour was being compared to his older cousin Jamison Crowder — now one of the top receivers in the ACC.
He was offered a full scholarship by South Carolina as a sophomore, and more than a half-dozen major colleges have offered since.
Barbour was expected to have a Crowder-like season as a junior in 2012, but the high ankle sprain he suffered in the preseason kept hanging around.
He initially thought the injury would only cost him a couple of meaningless scrimmage games.
It turned out to be much more involved.
Barbour missed four games, but says the injury hindered him throughout the Redhawks' 2012 season, which included 11 wins and a trip to the 1-AA state semifinals.
"I couldn't do what I wanted out there," said Barbour, a 5-10, 175-pound receiver/cornerback who has multiple major college offers. "It bothered me all season. I gave it what I had, but it was very frustrating. I kept a good attitude about it. I just cheered the team on."
Barbour still led the Redhawks in receptions (42) and receiving yards (521), but lacked the explosiveness that makes him a major college prospect.
He gave the ankle plenty of rest and rehabilitation last winter, and missed most of the basketball season while he healed up.
"I'm 100 percent now," Barbour said. "I believe this year I can just get the ball and do what I want, make people miss and outrun them. I couldn't do that last year."
Barbour has been offered a scholarship by Duke, North Carolina, N.C. State, South Carolina, West Virginia, Wake Forest, East Carolina and Appalachian State.
He once considered South Carolina in the lead, but he's drifted away from the Gamecocks.
Barbour told The Enquirer-Journal on Friday he's narrowed his list down to a top three: Duke, North Carolina and N.C. State.
He can take up to five official visits this fall and can sign next February, but plans to announce a decision before then.
"First I want to take my visits, tour the campuses and evaluate the coaches and whatnot," Barbour said. "I'll probably make the decision during football season or maybe afterwards. I'll just need some time to sit down and think about it."
Barbour isn't sure who will be throwing to him, but anticipates freshman Zep Walls winning the quarterback job.
"Coach (Johnny) Sowell is working with the freshman a lot," Barbour said. "He'll probably be the starter. I'm confident in him. He throws the ball well and he's learning about coverages.
"He's a good kid. He listens to the coaches. He's not hard-headed or anything like that. ... I really just have to adjust to him. If he throws a bad ball I have to make an incredible catch."
The Redhawks are moving up to 2A this season, and Barbour likes the idea of facing better competition.
"It's going to be tougher in the playoffs but I think we'll be just fine moving up," Barbour said. "I believe we'll be better than we were last year. That's what I'm seeing right now. Our confidence is high and everybody's showing up and working hard. We're doing the things it takes to be successful."
Aug. 23^at Lexington
Aug. 30^Anson Co.
Sept. 6^at Cuthbertson
Sept. 13^at Weddington
Sept. 20^Charlotte Christian
Sept. 27^at Sun Valley
Oct. 11^at CATA
Oct. 18^Mount Pleasant
Oct. 25^at Parkwood
Nov. 1^at West Stanly
Nov. 8^Forest Hills