Former Spanish Fort Toro Trae Barry named Athlon Sports Preseason All-American

MICHAEL HANICH, Sports Analysis
Posted 2/21/21

It feels like sports are attempting to be played back under normal circumstances after the devastating impact from COVID-19. For college football teams and conferences outside of the FBS level, they …

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Former Spanish Fort Toro Trae Barry named Athlon Sports Preseason All-American

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It feels like sports are attempting to be played back under normal circumstances inspite of the devastating impact from COVID-19. For college football teams and conferences outside of the FBS level, they are looking forward to playing their conference schedules this spring

One team looking forward to conference play this spring semester are the Jacksonville State Gamecocks, led by former Spanish Fort Toro tight end Trae Barry. In the fall, the Gamecocks, much like other teams in the FCS, played their nonconference games as a countermeasure than sitting out of fall semester football.

The Gamecocks played four games in the fall including two opponents at the FBS level. They came out with a 3-1 record including a huge 19-10 victory at the Florida International. Barry was the team’s leading receiver in the victories over Mercer and at North Alabama. He finished the fall football semester with 13 receptions for 240 yards in four games. His best performance was against in-state foe North Alabama Lions as he caught five receptions for 104 yards.

He enters his senior collegiate semester as a member of Athlon Sports Preseason All-American Team. Barry is recognized as one of the most reliable and explosive offensive playmakers at the FCS level.

His great hands and route running ability give him enough separation from the opposing coverage to make the quarterback’s pass progressions easier. His height and size alone are alarming to the opposing defenses as he measures in at 6-7, 245 pounds.

The Gamecocks look  to have their best season since 2018 - Barry’s sophomore season, - when they finished 9-4. In 2019, JSU finished with an overall record of 6-6 in the first season with William Green and Owen Kilgore as co-defensive  coordinators.

The Gamecocks are entering this FCS, playing in an OVC conference only schedule, ranked 16th in the nation by Athlon Sports. The Gamecocks will rely on Barry’s playmaking abilities, leadership, and experience to help them win their first conference title since 2017. He has attributes that would make him a legitimate candidate for the NFL Draft. With him playing this spring for Jacksonville State, however, he would be missing out on key evaluations and on-the-field test procedures.  It isn’t impossible for him to play this semester and to be drafted. But several other FCS-level prospects have skipped the spring football season to prepare for the 2021 NFL Draft.  

The NCAA has given student-athletes an extra year of eligibility due to the traumatic impact of COVID-19. Barry will use this time to put his team back on top of the Ohio Valley Conference before deciding his potential NFL future.