Freshman Khalil Barnes Recaps Stellar Performance Against FAU, Previews Florida State

CLEMSON- Khalil Barnes is quickly making a name for himself on Clemson’s defense.

In his first game under the lights at Death Valley, the true freshman recorded six total tackles, with an interception, a forced fumble, two passes broken up, one quarterback hurry and one tackle for loss, as Clemson cruised past Florida Atlantic 48-14 on Saturday night inside Memorial Stadium.

Barnes met with the media following the victory, touching on a number of topics that included his relationship with David Pollack and FAU dancing on the PAW at midfield during pregame warmups.

What We Heard

  • “Obviously, my tensions and emotions were high,” Barnes said of his first start being a night game at Death Valley. Barnes said the game seemed fast at first, noting how a receiver got behind him early on. However, he credited his teammates for helping keep him in the moment, which allowed the freshman to come back and have a stellar night.
  • Barnes credited the team’s preparation for a lot of the defense’s success.
  • On FAU gathering at midfield and dancing on the Paw during pregame, Barnes said it was strength coach Joey Batson that informed the team of what happened. The Tigers had already gone back into the locker room and did not witness the events. “Obviously, we respect all of our opponents, but that kind of made it personal there. That’s just disrespect. We came out there and said ‘we gotta shut these guys out.”
  • Barnes credited film study when asked about the early tackle for loss, his interception and forced fumble. The freshman also credited Andrew Mukuba for giving him some helpful tips.
  • People on Twitter, if I have a bad game, they might say Khalil Barnes sucks. But I know I still got my family, I still got my teammates, and I still got people that love me.”
  • Barnes said this week was important to “improve” with Florida State coming to town next week. Noted the goal is to hold teams to under 150 passing yards and with FAU passing for 210, there is still work to be done.
  • Barnes said one of the goals every week is for the defense to “set the tone,” and he felt like they did that tonight.
  • With the Seminoles up next, Barnes said, “the defense knows we have to have a really good game next week. Our goal is to protect the Valley, and go undefeated in the Valley.”
  • Barnes talked about his relationship with former ESPN analyst David Pollack. “He helps with me my spiritual life. That’s my guy. I appreciate him.” Barnes also said Pollack helped him some during his recruiting process.
  • “We have turnover Tuesday, that day is based on turnovers. The same stuff we did out there, we do in practice. It’s not like it’s anything new.” Barnes said regarding the four turnovers the Tigers forced.

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