MORGANTOWN, W.Va.– Jared Barber missed the entire 2014 season after suffering an ACL tear, but the fifth-year senior appears to be ready to help the West Virginia Mountaineers make its mark this season.
On Nov. 9, 2013, Barber tore his ACL on the final play of an overtime loss to Texas. Three weeks later his knee became infected with MRSA.
For the next several months, football was an afterthought and life was the linebacker’s top priority. It was a reality that he may never play another snap on the field again.
The North Carolina native received a medical redshirt last season and spent much of the fall limping around the sidelines. He wore a headset on the field and tried to help his teammates buy giving them advice and guidance.
But now the 6-foot, 232-pound Barber is back on the gridiron and ready to lead the defense.
“I feel really good,” Barber said. “I was telling somebody this yesterday, I haven’t felt this good since a long time. Definitely ready to play. I am excited for sure.”
At the start of fall camp, Barber is possibly in the best shape of his life.
“I know my knee is stronger than its ever been for sure,” he said. “I am as strong as I have ever been. I think fast as I have ever been right now. But honestly I just give all the credit to the strength staff downstairs. I was talking to someone yesterday again about I haven’t played a real football snap in I think 21 months, which is crazy. It has gone by that fast. And 21 months I was with those guys the entire time.”
As a member of Keith Patterson’s 3-4 defense in 2013, Barber finished third with 71 tackles in 10 games. He led the Mountaineers with a career-high eight solo tackles, six assisted tackles and 14 total tackles against Texas before getting injured.
The road to recovery has been a long one, but Barber is finally back.