USC's Pete Carroll gets a good look at Loyola's Anthony Barr
Coach Pete Carroll has gained a reputation for stockpiling running backs at USC, as ESPN’s Ted Miller pointed out this week, and Carroll got a firsthand look at one of the best high school juniors in the nation when he watched Loyola’s Anthony Barr against Mira Costa on Friday night in Manhattan Beach.
With Carroll, left, standing in the end zone and NFL Hall of Fame quarterback John Elway among a standing-room-only crowd, Barr put on a show as he lifted the Cubs to a 23-7 nonleague victory to open the season.
Barr, a legitimate 6 feet 4 and 230 pounds with 4.5 or better speed in the 40, was shut down for most of the first half as Loyola struggled against the Mustangs’ aggressive defense, which seemed to take advantage of a predictable cadence used by the Cubs.
Then Barr took over. With Mira Costa leading, 7-3, late in the second quarter, Loyola Coach Jeff Kearin -- a former USC assistant coach -- put Barr on the wing and gave him the ball after he went in motion. The misdirection play caught the Mustangs by surprise and Barr scored on a 61-yard run to give the Cubs a 10-7 lead at halftime.
In the second half, Loyola’s Brett Ackerman -- a versatile 6-foot-5, 198-pound senior being looked at by several schools in the Pacific 10 Conference -- returned an interception for a touchdown to give the Cubs a two-score lead, which again set the stage for Barr.
With Mira Costa in need of a big play, Barr put the finishing touches to a dominant game with another 61-yard scoring run to give Loyola a 16-point victory.
Barr finished with 232 yards and two touchdowns in 16 carries. Normally, when Carroll attends a game, it’s considered a big thing for a recruit.
But that may not be the case with Barr. That’s because Barr is the son of former Notre Dame running back Tony Brooks, who was named Gatorade High School Player of the Year out of Tulsa, Okla., in 1986.
Brooks, whose younger brother Reggie Brooks also played at Notre Dame and works in the school’s alumni relations department, was drafted by Philadelphia in 1992 and played two seasons in the NFL. Barr also has a connection with UCLA, which offered scholarships to him and fellow junior John Young a week before Loyola’s first game.
Bruins Coach Rick Neuheisel’s son is a quarterback for the sophomore team for the Cubs.
Barr, who has good hands and NFL-type ability as a defensive player, not only could develop into the type of player capable of boosting rebuilding programs like those at Notre Dame and UCLA, but he could also be a future every-down back for Carroll and the Trojans. Watch him in this video highlight.
For now, Barr's goal is to lead Loyola to its second Southern Section championship under Kearnin, who won a title in his first year after he replaced legendary Loyola Coach Steve Grady in 2005.
Loyola could be a major force around the Southland by the end of the season if juniors like Barr, Young and inside middle linebacker Bronson Green -- who had a strong first half against Mira Costa -- continue to get the job done.
-- Lonnie White
-- Image by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images