NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — Just four short months ago, Arnold Barnes was carrying the rock in the Central City neighborhood of New Orleans for Booker T. Washington. Now the incoming freshman finds himself uptown as an early enrollee, and at Tulane football is already in session.

“Seeing more explosive guys, and everybody around me is better, you know you got to step up your game coming in as a freshman,” Barnes told WGNO Sports following Day 9 of Spring Practice last week.

And Uptown, expectations are high.

Barnes rushed for more than 1,700 yards and 22 touchdowns as a senior, with 381 of those yards and six touchdowns coming in a 48-42 win over John Ehret last season. That performance earned him Friday Night Football’s “Player of the Week” honors from WGNO.

“That game goes down as the best game I’ve ever experienced, played in,” admitted Barnes. “I was too locked in. It was special.”

At 5-foot-10, 225 pounds, Barnes is built like a bruiser and his speed can be deceptive. But with an 11.2-second time in the 100 meters. Barnes has the explosiveness needed to take it outside when called upon.

“I feel like having that speed adds on to my ability, you know what I’m saying, so I can break away open-field tackles,” explained Barnes. “And with that speed, nobody can get me from the backside.”

With the departure of senior Tyjae Spears, freshman or not, Arnold Barnes has signed on with the Green Wave to play – now.

“That’s part of the reason why I enrolled early,” he said. “So, I can get the feeling of it for spring. I get to play down the spring. So fall camp, I’m already used to it. You know that I’m saying?”

“I feel like I can compete this year as a freshman.”

And while head coach Willie Fritz says enrolling early is not for everyone, with Barnes he clearly sees the upside.

“You only get to go to high school once,” explained Fritz. “And a lot of guys are playing multiple sports, basketball, track baseball, you know, but he was able to do it. And I think it’s really going to benefit him. He’s competing right now. to get carries as a running back.”

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