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‘Successful is a championship’: Barnes discusses expectations for freshmen class

Jacob Citron
Khalil Barnes (36) pictured helping take down Georgia Tech quarterback Haynes King on Saturday, Nov. 11.

In its 42-21 win over Georgia Tech last week, Clemson was led by impressive performances from its true freshmen, including safety Khalil Barnes.

Barnes posted five total tackles and an interception to become the first player in the Swinney era to have multiple interceptions and forced fumbles in their freshman season.

Barnes is among an elite group of fellow first-years like Shelton Lewis, Avieon Terrell, Peter Woods and T.J. Parker, who are adding necessary depth to the roster. Speaking to the media earlier this week, Barnes said he believes his class has enough talent to win a national championship in the future.

“Before we even got here, we were brothers,” he said. “We are locked in like that, and you’re going to do whatever you can do to help them be successful. And successful is a championship.”

Barnes knows the difference is that his class’ friendship off the field translates to success on the field.

“I think that shows on the field, like every time Shell (Shelton Lewis), AV (Avieon Terrell), Peter (Woods), TJ (Parker), any of us make a play.”

The talent Barnes speaks of was evident this past weekend.

Lewis scored his first career touchdown thanks to a 46-yard pick six. Terrell added four tackles and another interception, and Woods posted two solo tackles. Parker had the honor of carrying the American flag down The Hill for the military appreciation game.

Barnes was also impressed with the offensive performance against the Yellow Jackets and said it has been exciting for the defense to watch.

“They’ve been doing it all year in practice, so it’s just good to go and see them put it on display for all the fans at the stadium,” Barnes said.

Wide receiver Tyler Brown led the charge with seven receptions for 41 yards. His freshman campaign has been a highlight reel, including his impressive one-handed catch in the end zone against the Yellow Jackets.

Barnes and the rest of the ‘23 class will look to continue their momentum this weekend against the North Carolina Tar Heels, with kickoff set for 3:30 p.m. at home in Memorial Stadium on Saturday.

“Coach, he always talks about unwavering belief.”

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