April 6, 2009
Written/compiled by Nikki Hughes
Redshirt freshman defensive tackle T.J. Barnes is one of the players who will help fill the defensive line void left by the graduation of Vance Walker, Michael Johnson, and Darryl Richard. With his intimidating 6’7″, 325 pound frame, he could be a force to reckon with in 2009. We recently caught up with the Enterprise, Alabama native to ask him about redshirting, his past accomplishments, and what he will add to the Georgia Tech defensive line in 2009.
Q. How has redshirting benefited you for the upcoming year? What did you learn?
A. It has just basically better prepared me for everything. It gave me a chance to study and get a better knowledge of the game.
Q. What would you say has been the hardest thing for you while preparing for the upcoming season?
A. The hardest thing has been having patience.
Q. How have you adjusted to the demanding workouts and schedule that comes with being a D1 college football player?
A. Faster. Step up to the tempo.
Q. How will you contribute and impact the defensive line in 2009?
A. Just giving my all. Just doing what they (the coaches) say. When I get in, I’ll make plays. When I’m out, I’ll support the team.
Q. What are your personal goals for next season? For the team?
A. My personal goals are to win and to dominate. My goals for the team would be ACC Champions, National Champions.
Q. When did you start playing football? Have you always played the same position? What is your biggest football accomplishment so far?
A. I started playing football in the ninth grade. I played fullback and then I played O-line. They were too deep at O-line so they moved me to nose tackle and that’s when I started playing defense, and I liked it. My biggest accomplishment so far has been coming to school, making it to college.
Q. Your father and cousins all played football at Auburn. How have these family members influenced you throughout your football career and why did you mix things up and come to Georgia Tech?
A. They just taught me the game and gave me guidance. The reason I came to Tech was the education and to get out of the state and branch out.
Q. Being from Alabama, did you know anything about the UGA-GT rivalry before you landed on the Flats? How does it compare to Alabama-Auburn? How do you feel about it now?
A. I can’t say much about the GT-UGA rivalry yet because I haven’t played in it, but I know the rivalry is important to the team and to the fans.
Q. You seem to have a big family considering that you have four younger siblings. What was it like growing up with so many siblings? Do any of them play football?
A. Well, my older brother, he plays for Florida State, #88 Beau Rutherford. My younger brother, he plays for a college out in Mississippi, a D3 college. It wasn’t really that hard. I grew up with my brother and sister.
Q. Tell me a funny (and appropriate) joke or tell me about something funny that occurred on the football field.
A. When I got flipped over for the first time being cut by Jon Dwyer…