Rural Missouri - November 2013 - (Page 20)
Right: Tim gets ready to snap
the ball during his days as the
center for the Missouri Tigers,
a starting position he held for
three years. He played with both
Chase Daniel and Blaine Gabbert, Mizzou quarterbacks who
now play in the NFL. Below:
Tim says the toughest part of
his game these days is staying
mentally sharp on the sidelines.
Here he works on plays with
tight end Mike McNeill and the
Rams' special teams coordinator
photo above by Chris Dunn, Columbia Missourian
Right: While Tim still hopes for a starting position, playing special teams is his current role with the St. Louis Rams. He anchored the right side of the line during this
point-after-try kick against the Jacksonville Jaguars, easily one-handing two defenders.
Tim's ability to play multiple positions dates back to his high school days.
by Jim McCarty
Big man from a sm
eff Barnes can still remember
when he knew his son, Tim,
might be destined for stardom.
The two were wrestling in the
lege scouts. Assuming they do well in
family living room.
college, there's still just a small chance
"I reached out, and I grabbed his
they will be drafted to ﬁll one of the
ankle," recalls the Central Missouri
53 spots on an NFL team.
Electric Cooperative member. "I
That Tim Barnes beat these odds
noticed I couldn't close
is even more amazing. Sure, Tim
my hand around his
excelled since third grade playing
ankle. I couldn't even
youth football in a league based
come close. And shortly
in Sedalia. But when he
after that, he got me over
approached high-school age,
in the corner. I couldn't get
his football career faced a
away from him. That's when
tremendous hurdle: His
I ﬁrst thought it shouldn't
high school didn't have
be that hard to whip a thirda football team.
Tim's parents, Jeff and
Tim has come a long way since the
Becky, considered moving to a school
days when he was an overgrown kid
district that played football. Instead,
growing up in Longwood, a village
Jeff started a crusade to convince the
located just north of Sedalia that is
Missouri State High School Activitoo small to have its population listed
ties Association to allow schools to
on the map. He's one of a handful of
ﬁeld cooperative teams with nearby
small-town athletes who beat long
schools when they were too small to
odds to make it to the National Footﬁll a team themselves.
ball League as a back-up center for the
For three years, he made his case
St. Louis Rams.
and was shot down. Undaunted,
Of the estimated 100,000 athletes
he teamed up with auctioneer Dick
who currently play high school footHutchison and a determined group
ball, only about 215 will ever make
of parents to convince Northwest
it to the professional level. First, they
High School's board to add football.
have to win the genetic lottery -
Donations poured in until most of
born big enough, strong enough and
the $20,000 needed to build a football
fast enough to make the grade.
ﬁeld and equip players was raised.
They have to excel on the ﬁeld and
Pepsi donated a scoreboard. Central
somehow catch the attention of colMissouri Electric Cooperative set the
Hard work took Tim Barn
light poles. A local fabricator made
goal posts. A host of volunteers -
including the principal - helped get
the team on the ﬁeld. And Tim got his
chance to shine.
"We had a lot of good parents,
mine and all of my close friends," Tim
says. "Our parents gave up everything
to help us do what we wanted."
Before Tim stepped on the ﬁeld
for the ﬁrst time as a Northwest High
School Mustang, he was on the radar
for recruiters at the University of Missouri. "My dad, he really thought I
could play in college," Tim says. "He
pushed me to go to some camps when
I was in junior high. So we went up
there, and they showed interest."
That's putting it mildly. Jeff says
the camp's organizers told him there
was only one Division I prospect at
the camp, and that was his son, Tim.
In high school, Tim grew to be
a solid 6-foot, 4-inch, 306-pound
beast. "He was incredible," says his
coach, Caleb Crooker, who still leads
the Mustangs football program. "We
would move him all over the line to
take advantage of him. He played
every position except for quarterback.
He could snap the ball. He could catch
the ball. He was fast.
"His senior year, if he wasn't
injured, we were going to play him
some at fullback. He missed the ﬁrst
ﬁve games. He came back and played
with one arm and was still a force.
That's just Tim Barnes. He works hard,
and he has always played hard."
Tim says he actually did play in
the backﬁeld as a freshman when the
Class 1 team ran short of players. "It
wasn't fun," he recalls with a smile. "I
think I had 28 yards for the game." He
had one touchdown for the Mustangs
but created huge holes for the team's
ball carriers, including his older brother, Dan, a walk-on at Mizzou.
He played on the Mustang's offensive and defensive lines, as well as special teams. In most games, he never
left the ﬁeld.
Tim was ranked as the No. 4 overall
prospect in the state of Missouri by
Rivals and the No. 23 offensive guard
prospect in the nation.
He also played basketball and baseball for the Mustangs. And though he
shined in all three sports, there was
no doubt he would play college foot-
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Missouri - November 2013
Rural Missouri - November 2013
White mules and family wine
Helping our neighbors
A rolling tribute to freedom
Out of the Way Eats
Big man from a small town
Hearth and Home
Best of rural Missouri
Rural Missouri - November 2013