Marion Barber III
Birthday: June 10, 1983
When Marion Barber III was a high school senior, the Minnesota coaching staff was split on whether to offer him a scholarship. Head coach Glen Mason wanted Barber; he was familiar with Barber because Mason’s children went to high school with Barber and because Barber’s father played running back for the Gophers and the New York Jets. The Minnesota assistant coaches thought the scholarship would be better used on another player. The boss won out, and it looks like he knew what he was doing.
Barber rushed for over 700 yards as a true freshman. The next year, a hamstring injury in his second game sidelined him for the rest of the season so he received a medical redshirt from the NCAA. He returned to action in 2003 in a big way, rushing for nearly 1,200 yards and scoring 17 touchdowns, despite splitting time with another talented back, Laurence Maroney, who ran for over 1,000 yards himself. Barber also led the Big Ten in punt return average and returned kickoffs for the Gophers.
Although he is not a massive battering ram of a back, Barber is a downhill runner who keeps his pads low and breaks tackles. He has an explosive burst through the hole and quick feet, but is not a burner who is going to leave the defense in the dust. As his touchdown numbers suggest, Barber is very effective in the red zone. Minnesota has not used him extensively as a receiver, but he has shown that he has soft hands. Barber left the Gophers’ spring game with a sprained knee but should be fully recovered.
Barber resembles Domanick Davis in many ways: both are compact backs with quickness, explosiveness through the hole, and special teams ability. Barber has been more productive at the college level and should receive more consideration as an NFL feature back than Davis did when he came out.
(profile written by Warren DeLuca)
Marion Barber’s 2003 Stats G CAR YDS AVG TD 13 207 1,196 5.8 17 Marion Barber III Home