Barnes goes his own way as he heads to Marshall

Published 2:22 pm Friday, February 3, 2023

Ironton Fighting Tigers senior linebacker Lincoln Barnes signed a letter-of-intent to play for the Marshall Thundering Herd. Attending the signing ceremony and looking more like a Marshall team picture rather than the family photo were: seated left to right, grandmother Joanne Kincaid, mother Amy, Lincoln, grandmother Debbie Dickess, Brooke, Adi, Eli, Lexi, Ali; back row left to right, Back row: Erickson, Aiden, grandfather Mike Dickess, father Eric, Joziah and Judah. (Photo by Tim Gearhart)

By Jim Walker

Going against the ways of his family has Lincoln Barnes going in the right direction.

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Barnes didn’t have a fight or falling out with his family, he just chose to play football instead of basketball.

The result was the Ironton Fighting Tigers’ senior linebacker signing a letter-of-intent to play for the Marshall Thundering Herd.

Lincoln Barnes

“With my family it’s always been basketball, basketball, basketball. I went away from that. I’m the first person in the family to ever get an award like that in football,  so it’s just a big accomplishment,” said Barnes who does play for Ironton’s basketball team but prefers to take a charge rather than shoot the ball which is the complete opposite of his uncles, brothers and cousins.

“I’m not that guy,” said Barnes who picked Marshall over offers from other schools including Dayton, Eastern Kentucky and Iowa State.

But football was actually a big part of the family long before basketball took a stronghold on sports and proved to be one of the reasons he picked the Herd.

“A bunch of schools wanted to give me a chance to play at the next level and it’s a blessing really,” said Barnes.

“I can stay close to home for one, my grandfather (Keith Barnes) played at Marshall and left to join the Air Force so that’s a big factor in it, and I’ve always went to Marshall games,” said Barnes.

Although Barnes is not on a scholarship, he was offered a preferred walk-on deal with the potential of earning a scholarship.

“You’re more of the team. You’re not a walk-on. It’s a bigger label than a walk-on but you’re not a full-ride yet. I can earn the full ride just like any other kid can earn the full-ride,” said Barnes.

The 6-foot, 200-pound Barnes was the Southeast District Defensive Player of the Year and was a first team All-Ohio selection as a linebacker.

Barnes said Marshall plans to utilize him as a linebacker although he has played tight end and some fullback.

“I can’t wait. It’s going to be fun,” Barnes said about playing at the college level.

Ironton head coach Trevor Pendleton said Barnes plays the game in a way that would make his grandfather proud.

“Lincoln is a throwback football player. He’s a kid who’s around the football, hard-nosed, played through various injuries. He played two very physical positions for us, linebacker and tight end. He’ just a guy you can always rely on,” said Pendleton.

‘The best way to describe him is he’s a foxhole guy. If you want someone in your foxhole, you want Lincoln Barnes there. He’s just that type of mentality. I’d take a hundred of him any day of the week.”

Ever since grade school Barnes has played linebacker. He was a running back through middle school.

“I have broad shoulders. I’m the bigger kid so I started playing to tight end and that’s where I ended up throughout high school.”

Barnes caught a touchdown pass on the first offensive play of the game in the D5 state championship. He was happy his team could score but it didn’t change his opinion of playing tight end.

“I prefer defense. I hate offense,” said Barnes, who then addressed the play-action catch and run for a touchdown. “It was open. That was a good play call.”

Barnes has set a few goals as he enters the program but regardless of he outcome, he is just thankful for the opportunity.

“I want to at least be on special teams this year and eventually get my way to starting and earn a spot,” said Barnes. “It’s even a blessing just to be on the field and play the game of football. I just praise God every day that I’m able to play.”

Barnes plans to major in business or criminal justice.