Khalil Barnes was a late addition to the Class of 2023 for Clemson, but not because he was an unknown. Barnes was committed to Wake Forest from June 28th to October 3rd last season. He re-opened his recruitment and took the next month and a half to consider his options. He eventually chose Clemson over Notre Dame.
Barnes was one of those 3-stars that some fans lament, but the insiders were whispering that he was a recruit that Wake Forest identified and jumped on early because they knew he had slipped through the cracks of the recruiting industry.
Demon Deacons head coach Dave Clawson said this before the Clemson game this season:
"“There’s not one guy on their roster that wanted to come to Wake Forest. We wanted all those guys. There’s even guys on here that we offered and committed to us and the second Clemson offered them, they didn’t even give us a kiss goodbye. They just left.”"
Clawson is presumably talking about Barnes, and he sounds bitter. Maybe it is because he didn’t like the way Barnes communicated with him. Maybe it is because Clawson knew what he had and what he lost.
When Andrew Mukuba was injured this season, Barnes was the guy who stepped in at the nickel/safety hybrid position. When Mukuba returned and Jalyn Phillips and RJ Mickens missed time, Barnes was the first guy to step in at safety.
With Phillips exhausting his eligibility, Barnes appears to be next up to join the starting lineup in 2024.
Kylen Webb is another freshman safety who has played well and should see playing time next year. He will be in the mix if either Mukuba or Mickens elect to move on. Sherrod Covil and Tyler Venables will also be in that mix.