Javaris Barnes

Copperas Cove football player Javaris Barnes with family members at Tuesday's collegiate letter-of-intent signing ceremony. He said he doesn't mind being the underdog and uses it as fuel to prove people wrong.

When he was considering where to go play football in college, Bulldawg tight end Javaris Barnes went for a visit to Oklahoma Panhandle State University and found several things that swayed his decision.

“Well, it’s close to my family, and I got a full ride,” the 6-foot, 5-inch, 235-pounder said. “I felt like it is a place where I can grow as a person and as a player. It’s a quiet place, and it’s five minutes away from food — Walmart and all that stuff. As long as I have plenty of food, I’m straight.”

With his high school career officially coming to a close, Barnes — who played one season in Copperas Cove after moving here from North Carolina — says one thing that he will remember is always being an “underdog.” That is something he has used all his life as motivation to work hard.

“My whole high school career, I’ve been doubted and counted out a lot,” the 17-year-old National Honor Society student said. “I’ve always had to prove people wrong, and I plan to continue to do that.”

Along with playing football, Barnes plans to study biology, with an eye toward working some day in marine wildlife rehabilitation.

“If athletics doesn’t work out for me, I plan to go that road,” he said. “That’s something I’ve been interested in since I was a little kid.”

Sports has also been something he has always been interested in, especially football and basketball. Along with his size, his strength as an athlete is “determination.”

“I get the job done. I used to play around with my cousin and we made a bet who would be the first one to go to college to play football. I won that bet.

“I’ve been working a lot, and I can’t wait to graduate so I can focus more on my training. I know I’m big, but I’ve got to go up there and prove myself. I’ve got to get my muscle weight up.”

Once school is out, Barnes plans to spend some time training at the university, then moving up there permanently in August. He admits to having some butterflies, but says he is excited.

“I’m a little nervous, but it’s not a bad nervous. I’m ready to get there and do it,” he said. “We (some of the players) had a group chat and I can’t wait to get up there. It’s going to be fun. I know I’m going to enjoy myself.”

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