Rams land linebacker from Nebraska-Omaha
June 13, 2011
By Zak Gilbert
FORT COLLINS, Colo. - Colorado State has added important depth and a potential starter in the middle of its defense, signing linebacker Shaquil Barrett to a financial-aid agreement. Head Coach Steve Fairchild made the announcement Monday.
The addition shores up the middle linebacker position, where Colorado State during spring practice lost projected starter Michael Kawulok to a season-ending knee injury. Kawulok, who played as a true freshman in 2008, will return as a redshirt senior in 2012. Junior James Skelton and sophomore Charles Favors took the bulk of snaps at the position during the balance of spring ball.
Barrett, a 6-2, 240-pound sophomore from Baltimore, Md., is enrolled in summer coursework, which began Monday, and will take part in the Rams' summer conditioning program.
He joins the Rams from Nebraska-Omaha, which decided earlier this spring to drop its football and wrestling programs and join the Division I Summit League. Because he comes to CSU from a school that has disbanded its football program, he does not have to sit out this season, and is immediately eligible to play in 2011. He played as a true freshman at UNO in 2010, so he has three years of eligibility remaining, as well as a redshirt year available. He has 4.7-second speed in the 40-yard dash.
The Mavericks' middle linebacker last fall for head coach Pat Behrns, he played in 11 games and started the final 10, posting 82 tackles (51 solo), 11½ tackles for loss, 8½ sacks, three forced fumbles and four blocked kicks (two punts, two field goals). On a 5-6 team, he earned honorable-mention all-conference honors, standing out in a win at Truman State in the season finale (two forced fumbles) and an earlier victory at Pittsburg State (two sacks). He also registered a pair of sacks at Washburn.
A 2010 graduate of Boys Town (Neb.) High School, a private, co-ed boarding school near Omaha with students from across the nation, he lettered in football and wrestling. A defensive end, defensive tackle and offensive lineman for head coach Kevin Kush, he helped the 12-1 Cowboys a berth in the 2008 state championship, where they sustained their season's only loss.
Barrett played two seasons (2008-09) at Boys Town, becoming a full-time starter toward the end of his junior season, when coaches shifted him from offense to defense as the Cowboys were making a push for the state title. An all-state selection as a senior in 2009, he topped 70 tackles, including 12 sacks, and added five blocked kicks and two fumble recoveries, one of which he returned for a touchdown. He earned defensive MVP honors of the Shrine Bowl, a state all-star game, with 11 tackles, three sacks, three tackles for loss and a forced fumble.
He played his first two prep seasons at Baltimore (Md.) City College, one of the nation's oldest high schools, before moving to Boys Town in Omaha, which also produced his older brother, Kevin, now a member of the Nebraska-Kearney wrestling team. Another older brother, DeShawn, also wrestled in college and played semi-pro football in the Baltimore area.
The Athlete of the Year as a senior at Boys Town, Barrett followed his all-state honors on the gridiron with an individual 215-pound championship at the Class B state wrestling tournament. Widely respected by fellow students and teachers, he was a member of the National Honor Society.
Barrett, a nursing major at UNO, plans to pursue medical school after graduation. He also drew recruiting interest from Miami (Fla.), where his new position coach Bernard Clark won two national championships in the 1980s.
Born Nov. 17, 1992 in Baltimore, Md., his parents are Steven Barrett and Donyetta Hawkins.