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Clemson Football Recruiting

Clemson nabs fifth defensive back from Peach State

December 16, 2022

Clemson added a sixth defensive back to the 2023 football recruiting class on Friday. Khalil Barnes‍ (North Oconee High, Bogart, Ga) committed to the Tigers at 11:30 a.m. and became the fifth Peach State secondary pledge in the class. 

Barnes, a two-way player for North Oconee High (Cornerback, Wide Receiver), chose Clemson over Notre Dame and Oklahoma. 

He is a back-to-back Region 8-AAAA Player of the Year. In 2021, he won the award after having 30 tackles, three interceptions, 13 pass breakups, and two forced fumbles on defense and 50 receptions for 771 yards with nine touchdowns and 204 rushing yards with three scores on offense. 

In 2022, he was tabbed again when he accumulated 44 tackles, eight interceptions, seven pass breakups, and three tackles for loss, and 53 receptions for 879 yards with eight touchdowns and 442 rushing yards with seven scores. 

In a 16-13 win over Oconee County, the 6'1, 185-pound ball hawk picked off quarterback Mac Ricks four times, including one on a two-point play, which isn't counted officially. 

“You’re the best dang football player I’ve ever played against,’’ Ricks told Barnes after the game.

Barnes received an offer from the Tigers on Sept. 22 and subsequently de-committed from Wake Forest on Oct. 3. He participated in Dabo Swinney’s Camp in June and took an official visit for the South Carolina game on Nov. 26. 

He played primarily at cornerback for North Oconee but safety is expected to be his position at Clemson. 

Barnes will join fellow Peach State commits Avieon Terrell‍, Branden Strozier‍, Rob Billings‍, and Shelton Lewis‍ in the secondary.

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Clemson nabs fifth defensive back from Peach State

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