2025 linebacker Elijah Barnes discusses Tennessee offer, Vols’ staff, upcoming visit

Tennessee extended an offer to four-star linebacker Elijah Barnes on May 17.

The 6-foot-3, 210-pound linebacker is from Skyline High School in Dallas, Texas.

Barnes discussed his offer from Tennessee and updated his recruitment with Vols Wire.

“Tennessee is a great program, but I always tell people my mind is not on any top school,” Barnes said. “All schools are even, and I’m just taking my time and still doing my research, taking it slow.”

Tennessee’s culture surrounding the program has sparked Barnes’ interest in the Vols.

“The program, the environment, the coaching staff, and the people that played there, you can’t go wrong with a school that holds thousands of people during a game,” he said. “It’s a different type of culture in Tennessee.”

Barnes has built relationships with linebackers coach Brian Jean-Mary and defensive graduate assistant Forrest Lehman.

“They want to work with you and just sit down and talk football, let you know more about their defensive scheme and walk you through it,” Barnes said.

Tennessee assistant coach Brian Jean-Mary. Photo by Dan Harralson, Vols Wire

Barnes is the No. 124 overall prospect and No. 11 linebacker in the class of 2025. He ranks as the No. 3 linebacker and No. 21 player in Texas, according to On3 Sports industry rankings.

Barnes’ versatility is a point of emphasis with Tennessee’s coaching staff.

“They told me I’m the right type of guy for their defense,” he explained. “I’m a great fit and they could move me around because I’m versatile and can play more than one position.”

He earned Texas District 11-6A Defensive Newcomer of the Year honors as a sophomore last season.

Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

Barnes plans on visiting Tennessee for the first time this summer and possibly a second trip during the season, while continuing to build relationships.

“Trying to take a visit this summer to get to know the coaching staff, look at the facilities, get to know the players and have a great time down there,” Barnes said. “Hopefully come to a game to get to hear that crowd.

“I’m looking for relationships with coaches. That’s the biggest thing to see if I’m the right person for them.”

Barnes is not in a rush to make a commitment decision.

“I’m just taking it slow doing my research and trying to get on campus to check things out,” Barnes said. “Then when the time comes, I will make my decision and go to the school that wants me.”

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Story originally appeared on Vols Wire