When he was a freshman, Old Mill's Kevin Barnes knew what he had to do.
"I never wanted to sell myself short and [for that reason, I] set a goal that I'm going to a [Division]-I college or I'm not going to college at all," said Barnes. "I stuck to it."
With his priorities set and unwavering commitment, Barnes' goal was achieved Feb. 4, when the three-sport standout accepted a football scholarship to the University of Maryland.
Barnes, a 6-foot-2, 165-pound All-Metro defensive back, has exceptional speed and athleticism. He runs the 40-yard dash in 4.3 seconds. He is a guard on the No. 17-ranked boys basketball team that visits No. 8 Glen Burnie (15-2, 12-1) in a game of Anne Arundel County contenders tonight.
The same day he officially signed with Maryland, Barnes scored 12 of his team-high 18 points in the final period of an 83-80 comeback win over Annapolis. He said after the game that if his team had not pulled it out, "it would have ruined the whole day."
Tonight's game at Glen Burnie is a chance for Old Mill (14-3, 11-2) to avenge a 66-51 loss.
"We've been waiting for another shot at them and want the chance at a county title," said Barnes. The county title will be decided Feb. 26 between the two top teams.
In the spring, Barnes will turn his attention to track. In his first attempt last year at the high jump, he won county, region and state gold medals and earned All-Metro honors.
His personal best was 6 feet, 6 1/4 inches in the Class 4A East region meet and his 6-6 won the state title. Barnes also ran the 110 high hurdles and the 800 relay.
Barnes, a North Carolina native who moved to this area in the fourth grade, is focused in the classroom as well. He has a 3.60 grade point average and 1,090 SAT score. He also works part time at the National Security Agency.
"I've seen a lot of guys with talent who didn't apply themselves [academically]," said the soft-spoken Barnes, who likes medicine and biology. "Academics have always been a top priority with me. Good grades get your foot in the door and automatically attracts colleges. If they have two people with the same talent, they will take the one with the better grades."
Barnes committed orally to the Terps on June 22 while attending a summer camp at College Park. Duke had offered him a scholarship the weekend before, but, he said, Maryland was "where I wanted to go all along."
"Maryland made their offer the first day, and I accepted," Barnes said. "I canceled a trip to Virginia for the following weekend. I love the campus at Maryland, and the coaches showed me a lot of love."
Barnes is the first county player since Meade defensive back Andrew Smith, who graduates this year, to receive a Maryland scholarship. He is only the second Old Mill football player to get such an opportunity at College Park.
"I think Kevin has a bright future," said Old Mill football coach Mike Marcus. "He has a great work ethic and a frame that the Maryland coaches like. If they didn't think he had a lot of potential, they would not have signed him."