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Originally published Feb. 2, 2006 in the Omaha World-Herald
Barrett says: "Nebraska is known for linemen. And after I started to pick up on how much they really did need me, it definitely made a difference."
Did you know?: Credit Coloradans Seth Jensen and Pierre Allen with an assist in keeping Barrett committed to the Huskers. The fellow recruits called him regularly when Barrett was being hounded by Florida State after his December pledge. Jensen even invited Barrett to Colorado for Christmas. He stayed in Florida.
Coachspeak: "Florida State was pushing hard on Cruz. They were relentless. But I can't say enough about Bill Callahan, Randy Jordan and the job they did." -- Mainland coach John Maranto
What the gurus say: Rivals.com rates Barrett as the nation's No. 31 prospect at offensive guard.
About Barrett: Barrett grew up without the guidance of his parents, living with teammates and friends as a ward of the state. Considering the circumstances, he came through it in fine shape, Maranto said. "The big thing with Cruz is that he's got a great upside. He's really been a guy who persevered to this point. When he gets up there, I think he's going to thrive." Barrett comes from the school that produced NBA star Vince Carter. Maranto said he thinks Barrett will develop into a top pass blocker. "Like a lot of freshmen, he may find himself redshirting at a program like Nebraska," the coach said. "But the instruction and the environment there is going to be outstanding for Cruz."
How we see it: He probably needs a redshirt season, like nearly all freshman offensive linemen. Beyond next year, it all depends on his ability to stay healthy and determined. The physical tools are in place.
These are the players who built Nebraska football.
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