With the loss of last season due to the coronavirus pandemic, almost every football player that emerges as a star this fall will be a breakout star. For every David Evanchick, the Darien defensive lineman who excelled as a sophomore, there will a dozen or more household names in December that right now are completely anonymous.
Then there is the case of a player in Greenwich who received very limited time as a sophomore but whose name is familiar both to FCIAC fans and a national audience.
Chason Barber projects to be one of the league’s top receivers and defensive backs. He has already been offered by the University of Pennsylvania and is getting looks from other Ivy League schools, as well as a number from outside the conference.
“Chason has been waiting in the wings and waiting to have the opportunity to show what he can do,” Greenwich coach Anthony Morello said. “He’s been training night and day for this upcoming season and he’s primed to have a big year.”
Barber’s father, Tiki, is the career rushing leader for the New York Giants. Barber’s older brother, AJ, graduated from Greenwich last month. He was the standout in the 2018 state championship game, and earned All-State honors as a junior. He is about to begin his freshman season at Princeton.
Chason Barber was on a “to-watch” list even before he arrived at Greenwich. As AJ was making plays that ended up on ESPN, people in town added as a footnote, “Wait until you see his younger brother.”
Now it’s Chason’s turn, a year delayed.
“It was definitely demoralizing when we found out that we were one of the only states to not have a football season,” Barber said. “A lot of states played in the fall. Recruiting-wise it was definitely tough because all these other players have exposure from their in-game film, so all we have is the 7 on 7 film.”
Barber will offer a different dynamic than his brother, who is 5-10 and played his final season for the Cardinals at 175 pounds. Barber is 6-4 and 195 pounds.
“When you look at them there’s a clear difference in size and Chason is using his size to great advantage,” Morello said. “He has long strides, he gets down the field exceptionally well and he goes up and gets it. They’re different styles of receivers but what they bring every day is very similar.”
Barber had three receptions for 41 yards as a sophomore.
Barber does not yet know who will be throwing to him this season. Two juniors, Holden Brown and Jack Wilson, are battling for the starting quarterback job. Greenwich will have two teams at tomorrow’s Grip It & Rip It passing tournament in New Canaan and each player will lead a team.
“We don’t really know what our team is going to look like this year. This will help show what we have and what we have to work on,” Barber said of tomorrow’s event.
It is not only the quarterbacks who will be getting a first look.
“Chason spent time off the field working with teammates, isn’t afraid to ask questions, try new things or make suggestions,” Morello said. “And he can do really great things defensively too, so hopefully he gets to showcase that too this weekend, as well as going up against some very formidable opponents. It’s a very good tournament with a lot of great teams.”
While Barber got to share the basketball court with his brother last season, the vision of them posing a dual threat in their favorite sport never came to fruition.
“It wasn’t as bad because I got to play basketball with him this year but I always wanted to be on the football field with my brother playing wide receiver,” Barber said. “So it was a letdown.”
Barber is being pragmatic about the recruiting process. He recently attended a camp at Princeton. Could the opportunity to reunite with his brother influence his decision?
“It’s a factor but not that much,” Barber said. “I’m trying to make my own path. I’m not going to decide off of that, I’m going to decide on what school I think is the best fit.”
It is the same outlook Barber holds when discussing the family ties.
“It helps with the exposure, the Barber name and bloodlines, but it’s more my skills and not my name,” he said.”