Barden transfers from Virginia Tech to Vanderbilt

Chris Thelen/Staff
Brandon Barden said his decision to leave Va. Tech wasn't based on the shooting rampage.

Former Lincoln County standout Brandon Barden, who avoided the shooting rampage at Virginia Tech last month because of an early-morning football meeting, is no longer a Hokie.

Barden, a 6-foot-5 tight end who played quarterback in high school, said Tuesday afternoon that he had transferred to Vanderbilt and was accepted last week. He said the Nashville, Tenn., school was one of his top choices when he was being recruited.

Barden, who enrolled early at Virginia Tech, said the tragedy in Blacksburg, Va., was not the sole reason he decided to leave the Atlantic Coast Conference school.

"I didn't base my decision off that," he said. "I had been thinking about it the whole semester."

Barden currently is at home in Lincolnton. He's working construction with his father this summer.

Barden said he will leave for Vanderbilt in July. The exact day he will report depends on whether the NCAA will waive the rule on Division I athletes sitting out a year when they transfer to another D-I school.

Barden's mother, Becky, told the Nashville City Paper on Monday that she had contacted the NCAA and believed the organization would allow Barden to play immediately.

"When I contacted them initially," she told the Nashville paper, "they said they think people will be able to transfer without sitting out."

Barden, the 2006 Augusta Chronicle All-Area first-team quarterback, helped lead Lincoln County to consecutive state championships his junior and senior seasons.

He left for Virginia Tech in January. He was preparing for the Hokies' annual spring game when Seung-Hui Cho killed 32 students on April 16.

Barden talked about the shootings last month. He said the first of the two shootings that day happened about 50 yards from his dorm room.

"All of that stuff happened at Ambler Johnston West," Barden told The Chronicle. "I'm on Ambler Johnston East. They are separated, but the two sides are connected. It would probably take me about 30 seconds to get over there from where I stay.

"That's the scary part. I go up that elevator to that part of the Ambler Johnston area all the time. I've got friends that all live over there."

Staff Writer Jeff Sentell contributed to this report.

Reach Chris Gay at (706) 823-3645 or chris.gay@augustachronicle.com.

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