By Cam Smith, USA TODAY High School Sports | October 10, 2017 1:13 pm ET
Apopka (Fla.) offensive tackle William Barnes received his Army Bowl jersey Tuesday at his school as part of the U.S. Army All-American Bowl Selection Tour presented by American Family Insurance.
“It’s such an honor to be able to call myself an All-American,” Barnes told USA TODAY. “It will always be a blessing and this will always be one of my greatest accomplishments. The people who came out to support me, my family and friends and teammates, it was a great opportunity to celebrate being selected for this bowl.”
Barnes is the nation’s sixth-ranked offensive tackle and sits just outside the nation’s top 50 overall recruits, according to 247Sports. He’s also ranked as the No. 10 overall prospect from the state of Florida. He said he likes the work ethic that comes along with being an offensive lineman, as well as the physicality and strength required to excel at the position.
As for his decision to play in the Army All-American Bowl, Army Bowl appearances by former Apopka stars Martez Ivey and Chandler Cox, now at Florida and Auburn respectively, played a major role in influencing the 6-foot-5, 290-pounder to choose the game in Texas.
Barnes holds 20 scholarship offers including some from the nation’s top traditional programs, including Alabama, Florida, Florida State, Ohio State and North Carolina, which he is also considering.
“I’m still keeping my commitment close to signing day,” Barnes said. “I’m taking it one step at a time and focusing on high school first and everything else will fall into place.”
He’ll be among the nation’s top players competing at the U.S Army All-American Bowl, which kicks off Saturday, Jan. 6 in San Antonio at 1 p.m. ET on NBC.