SEWARD, Neb. – Following a breakout first team all-conference season, junior Trey Barnes found himself in elite company on Tuesday. The NAIA has announced Barnes as a 2015 American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) second team All-American. Barnes becomes the program’s third All-America selection in four seasons, joining safety Darnell Woods (2013) and kicker Kenny Zoeller (2012).
A former running back and linebacker, Barnes settled in at defensive end in 2015 and thrived. He terrorized opposing quarterbacks while registering 10 sacks (fourth most in program history), 20 tackles for loss, 11 quarterback hurries, two forced fumbles, a fumble recovery and two pass breakups. The Seward High School alum made 75 total stops.
“I was most impressed with the number of tackles he was in on as a defensive lineman,” said Corby Osten, Barnes’ position coach. “He started off a little slow, which was understandable. You could see something clicked. He realized how good he could be if he stopped thinking and just played. Once he figured that out his athleticism just took over.”
Barnes’ improvement sparked the resurgence of a dominant Bulldog defense. Among all NAIA programs, the 2015 Concordia unit ranked third in pass defense (144.0), fourth in total defense (279.6), fifth in pass efficiency defense (96.7) and 13th in scoring defense (18.7).
At times Barnes was nearly unblockable. Up against the prolific Morningside offense, Barnes turned in one of his best performances in sacking first team All-American quarterback Ryan Kasdorf three times. Barnes had multiple sacks on three occasions. Even with his spotlight growing as the season went on, Barnes made life difficult on opposing offensive lines.
“He’s definitely a hard worker and a fun guy to have in the defensive meeting room,” coordinator Patrick Daberkow said. “He’s been very much willing to eat up double teams to create opportunities for his teammates. When he got single blocked he would normally dominate his guy.”
The 6-foot-1, 245-pound Barnes ranked fifth nationally in sacks per game and sixth in tackles for loss per game.