Originally created 06/02/06

Hokies land versatile Red Devils quarterback

There's not many things left that a Lincoln County football player has not been able to do.

Subtract one more item from that list. Rising senior quarterback Brandon Barden is set to become to first Red Devil to play for Virginia Tech.

"We've never had one of our players go to Virginia Tech before," Lincoln County coach Larry Campbell said. "Frank Beamer and his staff up there don't usually recruit our area."

The 6-foot-5 Barden committed to the Atlantic Coast Conference school in Beamer's office on Thursday afternoon. He received an offer from Virginia Tech on Wednesday. The Barden family traveled to Blacksburg, Va., and visited the campus Thursday.

"I told him I wanted to be Hokie," Barden said. "He said 'All right, then,' and we shook hands. It was all good times from there, I think."

Barden is a hybrid prospect. He led the Red Devils to the Class A championship last fall under center at quarterback as mainly a rushing threat. But he was one of the best tight ends in the state as a sophomore in 2004.

The 220-pounder will again play quarterback for the Red Devils this fall, but projects to a tight end or a slot receiver in college.

He was timed at 4.58 seconds in the 40-yard dash at a Nike combine at the University of Georgia this spring,

"They were recruiting him for his versatility," Campbell said. "He can play tight end in college football with a little weight. He can play split end or in the slot at receiver. And he's not a bad quarterback for anyone when it comes down to it."

Kansas State, Vanderbilt and Wake Forest had also offered Barden. He was also receiving special interest from Clemson, Georgia and Georgia Tech, among others.

"Virginia Tech is my number one choice," Barden said.

The fact the Barden family has already spent about $250 on Virginia Tech hats, shirts, shorts and other memorabilia is proof positive.

"That would be a lot of stuff to take back if I changed my mind," he said.

Barden has expressed an interest in engineering. He said Virginia Tech's academic strength in that field was also a deciding factor.

He also liked the fact that Virginia Tech's Lane Stadium was surrounded by cow fields.

"I like the facilities, the football program, the academics and the location," Barden said.

"I like all of it. I'm going to be a Hokie."

Reach Jeff Sentell at (706) 823-3425 or jeff.sentell@augustachronicle.com.


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