Spotsylvania TE Mathias Barnwell (Twitter commitment video still)
Class of 2023 TE Mathias Barnwell has verbally committed
by Jim McGrath, recruitNoVA
In a stunning move, Spotsylvania’s rising sophomore Mathias Barnwell has made his college commitment, with the Knight posting a 90-second video on Twitter Monday to announce his intention of continuing his football career with the Nittany Lions of Penn State.
Barnwell, (c/o 2023, 6-5 250) a tight end, has gained the interest of Division I coaches from near and far, and the list of schools expressing interest and offers is laced with Big Five programs. Still, many fans without an insider’s view were surprised to see Barnwell make his decision with three full years of high school ball left to play.
Perhaps his reasoning can be found in the video. At the beginning, Barnwell is shown walking on to the gridiron with his voice in the background saying, “The doctor told me I’d never be an athlete.” His voice continues “People said I’d never make it this far. They told me I wasn’t strong enough, I wasn’t fast enough, I wasn’t good enough. They told me I’d never compete at the varsity level. They told me I wouldn’t succeed at Spotsy High. They told me I wouldn’t go Division One. This is for everybody that said I couldn’t, and I wouldn’t.”
— Mathias MEGA Barnwell (@mega_barnwell) June 8, 2020
As the video shows Barnwell running through agility drills, the voice continues. “To most people, football is just a game. Just something you play and watch. To me, it’s my way of life. I’ve never been the type to fit in. I’ve always stood out. I’ve always outworked everybody around me. This isn’t for me. This is for the legacy I’m going to leave behind, for Spotsylvania County and for the whole state of Virginia.”
After thanking his coaches, family, and teammates, Barnwell announces that he is “1,000% committed to Penn State University.” The final shot features Barnwell, his family, and coaches sitting in the Spotsylvania bleachers cheering “We are PENN STATE!!”
According to Penn State’s Roar Lions Roar website, tight end coach Tyler Bowen was the most instrumental in Barnwell’s recruitment, and the Nittany Lions had the freshman on campus twice – in October and at Junior Day this past February,
Not surprisingly, Barnwell is the first commit for Penn State’s 2023 class. However, with three seasons of high school ball remaining, there is speculation that he may abandon the tight end position in college ball, and move toward the middle of the offensive line, perhaps as a tackle.
– Jim McGrath