Collin Barber, who is committed to UGA on a football scholarship, said he wants to apologize to Georgia fans for his arrest last month. The punter from Cartersville High School was charged with four counts of destruction of mailboxes.
“I messed up with what I did; it was really dumb,” Barber told the AJC. “I feel like I let a lot of Bulldog fans down. Actually, I feel like I let a lot of people down – my family, my friends, my coaches and my teammates. I feel like a lot of people that looked up to me are now going to look down on me because of that.
“I’ve apologized to [UGA coach Mark Richt]. I also want to apologize to the Bulldog fans. Hopefully, everybody can move forward from this.”
After the incident, Barber was suspended for Cartersville’s season-opener and had to do extra running at practice for a week.
What about his football scholarship to UGA? Barber feels like it is secure after talking to Georgia’s coaches over the phone and in person at last Saturday’s game. However, he won’t know for sure until the police charges are resolved and his application is reviewed by UGA’s admission committee.
“I’m pretty sure it will be safe; Georgia’s coaches said my scholarship offer would be safe, more than likely,” Barber said. “[UGA assistant Will Friend] called me and I told him the story. He doubted it would cost me the scholarship. Coach Richt then called my high school coach and said that it probably wouldn’t affect me. I also talked to the Georgia coaches briefly at the South Carolina game.
“I feel as good as I can about the scholarship. I don’t think anything bad will happen. But if it does, then you know life goes on. You’ve got to move on from what happened, and I will learn from this mistake. But I’m pretty sure it will be OK.”
What exactly happened on the night of the arrest? Barber said he was driving a truck with a couple of friends in it — one of them grabbed a baseball bat behind the backseat, leaned out of the passenger’s side window and hit four mailboxes on the way out of a subdivision. “We didn’t think about it in the present moment and then when we did a few minutes later, we knew we were in trouble.”
After being charged by the Cartersville police, Barber talked things over with his parents and decided to return to the scene the next morning. “I felt really bad so I apologized to everyone and repaired the four mailboxes,” he said. “We bought brand new mailboxes, and repainted two of the four posts. All four [homeowners] forgave us. They were very understanding, and they said didn’t want to press charges. Hopefully, this will all get figured out, and it will all blow over.”
Barber said he learned an important life lesson: “If you’re in a crowd and somebody is doing something wrong, you’re still going to get in trouble, along with everybody else. I know with me, I’m never going to get myself in any situation like this again. I’m going to walk away from the crowd and leave.”
Following the incident, Barber’s arrest was published in the local newspaper as part of the regular police blotter. Due tp Barber’s connection to UGA, the story quickly went viral on college football websites and message boards.
“I just wish people knew me before they said all these things on message boards about me,” Barber said. “I’m an Honor Roll student, I don’t skip class, I don’t party – I don’t do any of that stuff. My mom is the director of a children’s shelter, and I go out there and play with the kids all the time.
“It’s not like I’m bad kid. Yes, I made a mistake, and I accept the consequences of that mistake. But it kind of bothers me that some people just want to judge me by this one mistake when they don’t know all the good things I’ve done and stand for … Hopefully, those people will forgive me, too, and we can all move forward.”
TOP 10 FOOTBALL RECRUITING STORIES
– By Michael Carvell, AJC Recruiting Blog
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