March 24, 2018

SOTT Draft Profile: Kenjon Barner

When you think of the Oregon Ducks, you think about speed. That is exactly what running back Kenjon Barner is. Barner was a key piece of the Oregon offense and scored 19 touchdowns on the ground, averaging over seven yards a carry.

We talked to Michael Welbon from FishDuck, a site that covers the Oregon Ducks, and he helped us get a little more insight into the explosive runningback.

You can also see their interview with Barner from January. 


Tale of the Tape

#24 Kenjon Barner

Position:          Running Back

Height:            5’11”

Weight:           192

City/State:     Riverside, Calif.

High School:   Notre Dame HS



RUSHING      g          att        yards   TD       long     avg/c    avg/g

2009                13        61        366      3          48        6.0       28.2

2010                11        91        551       6          41        6.1       50.1

2011                12        152      939      11        84        6.2       78.2

2012                12        179      1295    19        80        7.2       143.9

TOTAL           45        483      3151    39        84        6.5       70.0


Can you give us some background on how Barner ended up at Oregon?

Kenjon was recruited by Arizona, Oregon, Washington State, Washington, UCLA, UTEP and West Virginia.  He chose Oregon just because of how it felt here.  The community and family atmosphere of the team brought Kenjon to Oregon.

The PrepStar all-West Region pick was ranked as 38th-best running back in the country by Rivals.  The state’s 2007 rushing and scoring leader finished second in the country in scoring (22.8 avg.) and fourth in rushing (240.3 avg.), tallying 3,124 yards on the ground (7.5 avg.) and 46 overall touchdowns.  One of only three Riverside players ever to run for over 3,000 yards in one season and he had a season-high 369 rushing yards vs. Laguna Beach, as he eclipsed 300 yards on the ground on three occasions.

Other significant stats, etc:  Over the course of his four-year prep tenure, accumulated 10,772 career all-purpose yards (8,178 yards rushing), 144 touchdowns and 362 tackles.  He was a team MVP honoree in football and basketball as the league’s scoring leader in both sports.

Born Kenjon Fa’terrel Barner on April 28, 1989 in Lynwood, Calif. Parents: Gary and Wilhelmenia Barner. Family: Five brothers, one sister. High School (Coach): Riverside Notre Dame (Pat Thompson) 2008. Major: Pre-Journalism. Redshirt: 2008.


What did he mean to the Ducks Program?

Initially recruited as a Defensive Back, Kenjon was moved to offense as a precaution because LaMichael James and LeGarrette Blount were limited in spring practice.  Another backup, Remene Alston, was out with a foot injury so the Ducks had to use Barner at running back. The thinking was that if injuries continued into the fall, the coaches would have a plan.  Once he got over there, the offense wouldn’t let him go.

He was forced to play in the shadow of LaMichael James until he departed early for the NFL, but that proved to be a menace to defenses.  If they were relieved that LaMichael was off the field, they were in for a surprise.


Does Barner compare well to LaMichael James?

Barner’s a bit bigger than San Francisco 49ers 2012 second-round pick LaMichael James, but his wiry build and track speed makes him a similar breakaway threat.  Not the strong inside runner like LaMichael, Barner would rather break a run outside.


What are his strengths?

Excellent straight-line speed puts defenders in his dust in the open field. Accelerates after cut to burst through holes on stretch plays. Great at eluding penetrating defenders, quick sidestep.  Good downfield vision once he gets to the second level.  Weapon out of the backfield, can catch passes with his hands inside his frame and over his shoulder and is tough to track down if hit on the run.


What are his weaknesses?

WEAKNESSES Runs high, and as a result, does not play with tremendous balance. Too often seeks to bounce the ball to the outside and will miss running lanes as a result. Lean build, has difficulty breaking tackles inside. Runs upright in the hole before contact comes. Rounds off or takes a couple of steps to cut on east-west runs. Needs to work on ball security and catching with his hands in the flat consistently.


How do you project Barner at the NFL level?

His speed is undeniable and he can be a weapon catching the ball out of the backfield.   The concerns include ball security, pass protection, and the tendency to try and bounce everything to the outside. Barner will be successful in a team as a second back who can catch the ball out of the backfield.  He will also be a weapon at kick returner.

He will be a mid-round prospect.


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