Barber returns to field for West Virginia

Published 9:25 am Thursday, September 17, 2015

Jared Barber went through an awful lot to get back on the field for West Virginia’s football team, and that made the season-opening 44-0 rout of visiting Georgia Southern special for the senior linebacker from Mocksville.

Late in the 2013 season against Texas, Barber tore his ACL. After surgery, a MRSA infection set in.

“I had to be rushed home for that second surgery to cut out the infection,” Barber told Mountaineer reporters. “I stayed in the hospital for weeks. My mom (Dreama Barber) was there with me every night. She really helped. I couldn’t do anything. The whole month of December I was in the hospital. It was literally the worst two months of my life.”

Barber sat out the 2014 season, redshirting, spending a year rehabilitating and helping the team, passing his wisdom to younger players. Barber returned this year and pushed himself into the starting lineup.

In the opening seconds against Georgia Southern, Barber exploded into the backfield on third-and-1 and planted the running back for a four-yard loss.

“It was pretty crazy coming out,” he said. “I was more excited tonight than I was the first time I ever ran out on Mountaineer Field. The first quarter, I definitely played with a passion I haven’t felt myself play with in a long time because of everything I’ve gone through. I was so blessed to be back on the field.”

Although a shoulder injury ended his night early, it’s not expected to keep him out long. He sat out last week’s 41-17 win over Liberty to get ready for the meat of the schedule. His brother, Adam Barber, said Jared could have played if it had been a conference game.

“It just slipped a little bit,” Barber said of the shoulder. “It wasn’t a big deal. We were up big, so there was no need for me to go back in there. We did the smart thing.”

Defensive coordinator Tony Gibson said Barber is the heart and soul of the defense.

“He’s a kid who worked so hard to get back,” Gibson said. “He’s a great player, a great kid. Thank goodness he came back and wanted to get a full season in. He’s the glue that holds us together.”