Georgia Tech nose tackle T.J. Barnes stands at 6'7" and weighs close to 340 pounds. The issue in his four years on the Flats has never been his massive size or natural physical ability. Instead, it's been his ability to stay in shape and stay in football games.
That may no longer be much of an issue after a summer that saw the Enterprise, Ala. native dedicate himself to conditioning work as he readies for his senior season, says the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Ken Sugiura.
In defensive coordinator Al Groh's 3-4 scheme, Barnes' size is ideal. With few options at the nose tackle spot, his stamina is crucial to Tech's defensive success this season.
This summer, Barnes worked with strength coach John Sisk in the afternoon after the team's morning workouts, according to Sugiura, and teammates noticed the difference.
Barnes "kicked it into gear," Nealy said. "I can't honestly say what made him kick it into gear, but I'm just glad that he did."
Asked that question, Barnes pointed at a finger at Nealy and other teammates.
"You're just looking to your left and to your right and behind you," Barnes said. "You're fighting for those guys."
Georgia Tech opens the season Sept. 3 against Virginia Tech.