Marion Barber III
Position: Running Back/Return Specialist
Hometown: Plymouth, Minn.
Analysis | Injury Report | Agility | High School | Personal
The son of former NFLer, Marion Barber, Jr., the younger Barber's style of play is quite similar to his father's -- a quick, power runner with good receiving skills who also adds value as a punt returner. It was fitting that in his last game as a Gopher, he surpassed his father for second place on the school's career-record list with 35 touchdowns rushing.
An All-Midwest running back and defensive back, Barber gained 1,778 yards with 18 touchdowns as a senior at Wayzaka High. He was a SuperPrep and PrepStar All-Midwest choice who led his team with 10 interceptions, three of which came against Cretin-Derham Hall's Joe Mauer (Minnesota Twins catcher). Barber was a consensus all-state selection that led his team to a 10-2 record and an appearance in the state tournament as a senior. He posted an 18-4 two-year record at Wayzata. Barber was also an honorable mention all-conference performer in baseball as a centerfielder.
He began his collegiate career at Minnesota in 2001, earning freshman All-America third-team honors after gaining 742 yards with seven touchdowns on 118 carries (6.3 avg.). A hamstring injury vs. Buffalo in the third game of the 2002 season forced him to miss the final eight games and redshirt. He got out of shape while sidelined, causing him to share playing time with Terry Jackson and others entering the 2003 season, but quickly regrouped to lead the team with 207 carries for 1,196 yards (5.8 avg.) and 17 scores. He ranked second in the Big Ten Conference and seventh in the nation with an average of 14.5 yards on 28 punt returns. His seven 100-yard rushing performances that year tied a school single-season record. Barber collected 1,892 all-purpose yards for the year.
Barber was again forced to share playing time in 2004 with Laurence Maroney. Even though he started 11 games, he finished second on the team with 1,269 yards and 11 touchdowns on 231 carries (5.5 avg.). He added 110 yards on 19 punt returns (5.8 avg.) and 206 yards on 10 kickoff returns (20.6 avg.), as he totaled 1,612 all-purpose yards.
In 38 games with the Gophers, Barber carried the ball 575 times for 3,276 yards (5.7 avg.) and 35 touchdowns. Only Darrell Thompson (40, 1986-89) scored more touchdowns on the ground in school history. His 3,276 yards rank behind Thomas Hamner (3,810, 1996-99) and Thompson (4,654) on the school's all-time record list. His 14 games of at least 100 yards rushing rank third in school annals behind Thompson (23) and Hamner (15). He also gained 190 yards on 21 receptions (9.0 avg.), 515 yards on 47 punt returns (11.0 avg.) and 514 yards on 23 kickoff returns (22.3 avg.). His 4,495 all-purpose yards rank second in school history behind Thompson (5,109). He also completed four of seven pass attempts for 59 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions.
Positives: Has a thick upper body with a tight waist and hips, good bubble, thick thighs and calves … Low to the ground type of runner with the strength, power and hip flexibility to plant and change direction instantly … Not timid in attempts to run the ball through the pile … Shows no hesitation moving on the ball's snap and shows good vision picking the rush lanes … Power-oriented runner who will ram the ball through trash, showing little dance through the holes as he consistently moves forward … Has the leg drive to break tackles and keep his balance … Will lower his shoulders and initiate contact, pumping his feet to move the pile … Flashes a good burst bouncing to the outside and while not a burner, he shows good quickness with deceptive long speed … Has good quickness and above-average balance … Shows very good instincts and field vision, rarely missing the holes or cut-back lanes … Has the power to move the pile between the tackles and a good linear burst to get through the tightest creases … There is not much wiggle to his upfield movement, but he stays low in his pads and does a nice job of falling forward to get additional yardage … More comfortable as a north/south runner, but he does have good quickness and can make the first defender miss … Shows good power in his style and will gain yards after contact … Will finish his runs and has very good balance, especially when operating between the tackles … Brings added value to his game as a return specialist, looking the ball in well and then generating a burst to escape for big gains.
Negatives: Has enough sustained speed to get to the second level, but despite his quickness, he looks a little stiff in his lateral movements … In the passing game, he has the speed to be a threat out of the backfield, but is rarely used, except for some dump-offs and screens … Has a tendency to cradle the ball and double catch, resulting in several dropped passes … As a blocker, he shows willingness and strength, but needs to extend his arms better and generate a more consistent hand jolt to sustain … While he may fumble on occasion, this is no longer a problem area, as he has learned to do a better job of protecting the ball by keeping it closer to his body in 2004 than he did in the past … He showed no ill effects from a 2004 spring knee injury that was first thought to be a tear, but did favor his leg a bit as the season wore down (see 2004 Indiana and Wisconsin games).
2002 -- Granted a medical redshirt, missing the final eight regular season games due to a severe hamstring pull suffered vs. Buffalo.
2003 -- Missed most of the Iowa game (Nov. 15) with a hamstring pull.
2004 -- Limited in spring drills with a knee sprain. The team first feared it was a ligament tear, but tests revealed it to be only a sprain.
Campus: 4.48 in the 40-yard dash … 4.18 20-yard shuttle … 11.56 60-yard shuttle … 7.12 three-cone drill. Combine: Player chose to not participate in the running and shuttle drills at the Combines … 40-inch vertical jump … 10-foot-7 broad jump … Bench pressed 225 pounds 20 times … 31½-inch arm length … 8 7/8-inch hands.
Attended Wayzata (Minn.) High School, playing football for coach Brad Anderson … All-Midwest running back and defensive back … Gained 1,778 yards with 18 touchdowns as a senior … SuperPrep and PrepStar All-Midwest pick … Led his team with 10 interceptions, three of which came against Cretin-Derham Hall's Joe Mauer (Minnesota Twins catcher) … Consensus all-state selection who led his team to a 10-2 record and an appearance in the state tournament as a senior … Posted an 18-4 two-year record at Wayzata … Also an honorable mention all-conference performer in baseball as a centerfielder.
Business Marketing Education major … Son of Marion and Karen Barber … Father, Marion Jr., is a former NFL (New York Jets) and All-Big Ten Conference running back who gained 3,235 yards with 34 touchdowns rushing at Minnesota (1977-80) … Recipient of the Sheldon Douglas Endowed Scholarship … Born June 10, 1983 … Resides in Wayzata, Minn.