The 90 Illini #9: Tarique Barnes

Aug 19, 2022

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These are back to back horrific LLUOI evaluations. As I've been going through a bunch of old LLUOI's this summer, I've felt pretty good about the Tom Cruises I handed out. Went a little higher than most expected on Sydney Brown and Quan Martin. Didn't go crazy and give guys like Ford and Cooper five Cruises (or even 4.25 Cruises). Seven of the final eight players here are players I rated higher than would be expected when you look at their Composite score. And as you've seen over the last ten weeks, it's not like I just overrate everyone. Lots of players got less than two Cruises.

But three of the last four here... OOF. Easily the three worst ratings I have on this entire list of 90 players. And all three got the same rating: 1.5 Cruises. Casey Washington got 1.5, Julian Pearl got 1.5, and now Tarique Barnes... 1.5 Cruises. Three really bad whiffs.

Pearl can maybe be understood. This was a 250 lb. basketball player who the coaches viewed as a future offensive lineman. After I wrote about that in the last 90 Illini article, someone linked this photo (from 2018) on the Slack channel. 93 and 90 look like Big Ten linemen. 54?

I don't even blame the recruiting services for ranking Pearl so low. When he got here it was 100% "he's going to be a LINEMAN?". So I can forgive myself for that 1.5 Cruise ranking.

Barnes and Washington? No excuse. Complete and total whiff. There was film out there and I couldn't spot the future contributor. Go back and watch that film now and you can see it, but... total whiff.

I'm gonna keep working at this so that it doesn't happen again.

9. Tarique Barnes

Uniform number: 8 (44 last season)
Year in school: Junior (without the Covid waiver, 2 years to play 1; with the Covid waiver, technically 3 years to play 2)
Height: 6'-1" -- Weight: 230 lbs.
Hometown: Memphis, Tennessee
High School: Cordova HS
Five best offers: Arkansas, Missouri, Mississippi State, Navy, Illinois
Tom Cruise rating:

2021 statistics: Played in all 12 games with 10 starts. 80 tackles, 6 TFLs, 2 sacks, 1 INT, 5 PBUs, and 2 forced fumbles.


Getting in on coverage teams as a true freshman is maybe the single best indicator of future success on the field. After the 2019 season, it wasn't Shammond Cooper or Moses Okpala or Kyron Cumby or Marquez Beason (injured) who burned their redshirts. Here's the list of burned redshirts:

Bryce Barnes (walkon)
Tarique Barnes
Devon Witherspoon
Casey Washington
Dalevon Campbell (played in five games which was one game over the redshirt line)

Isaiah Williams they were saving. No need to burn his redshirt playing special teams (or even spot duty here and there). But the rest of these players (besides Campbell) are the ones who stepped forward as the players to know in that class.

And Tarique Barnes took his step forward in the Wisconsin game in 2020 (the opener when we got drilled). After the game got away from us quickly, Barnes came in and gave the defense a spark. He ended up starting two games that season and then 10 games last season.

2022 Outlook

As I said on the podcast episode I uploaded this afternoon, I was surprised to see that Calvin Hart was added to the Butkus watch list but Tarique Barnes was not. Hart has potential, to be sure, but he had one start last year before the injury. Barnes started 10 games, had 80 tackles, and was 4th-team All Big Ten per Phil Steele. That should be enough to get you on a watch list or two, right?

So the outlook for Tarique seems pretty simple. Get onto everyone's radar. Have the kind of season that makes people say "why was Hart on the preseason watch list but Barnes was not?"


Duce20 on August 20, 2022 @ 04:04 PM

Barnes is an absolute stud and will be on lists by mid season.

IllinionDeck on August 21, 2022 @ 04:33 AM

I think Pearl is 48 in this photo

Robert on August 21, 2022 @ 12:52 PM

Oh man I think you're right. Well, even more dramatic!

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