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BOWLING GREEN - Bowling Green State University's Freddie Barnes caught a record number of passes during the 2009 football season.
Barnes will soon find out if his NCAA all-divisions single-season record 155 receptions made a big enough impression for an NFL team to select him in the upcoming draft this week.
With the draft set to take place over three consecutive days beginning on Thursday night, the Fred Biletnikoff Award finalist is taking it all in as he awaits his future fate in football.
"It's exciting just to know I'm getting close to putting on a helmet again," said Barnes, who caught a BG record 297 passes during his career. "I'm focusing on what I can control right now and that's finishing up school."
Barnes is enrolled in classes in the spring semester and expects to graduate May 8 with an undergraduate degree in sports management. When he's not in class or studying, he's been working out to stay in shape for opportunities like BG's pro day held a month ago.
Barnes recently went through a workout in Chicago with his hometown Bears.
"I worked out with the Bears' wide receivers coach and ran routes on their route tree," Barnes said. "I met with the coaches, and it was a good experience."
The six-foot, 206-pounder has also spoken with officials from the Browns, Lions, and Falcons. However, he, like many other NFL hopefuls, finds himself in a wait-and-see situation.
"I don't have any special plans," Barnes said about draft weekend. "I know I'm going to probably be by myself.
"I know I'm not the only one, but this semester has been stressful. I'm waiting to see how everything plays out."
This is also an exciting time for Falcons record-setting quarterback Tyler Sheehan, who delivered the passes to Barnes for the single-season reception record.
"It's been real exciting," Sheehan said. "I'm about a week away from when I'll know exactly where I stand and where I could potentially end up.
"I've talked to a lot of people for the past month just about their [NFL draft] experience, and the people that have gone through this said just take it all in and kind of enjoy it while you can even though it's a stressful time."
Sheehan, a 6-3, 226-pounder, worked out for his hometown Cincinnati Bengals earlier this week. Similar to Barnes' situation, it was the only team that invited him to work out at their facilities.
"It was a cool experience," he said. "I got to meet a lot of Bengals. I threw with Carson Palmer the whole time, and so it was kind of cool to get his insight on things and what he looks at when he plays."
Sheehan has also been contacted by representatives from Bengals rivals, including Pittsburgh, Cleveland, and Baltimore. The St. Louis Rams have also expressed interest in Sheehan's passing skills.
Sheehan said teams that attended the BG pro day indicated to him there was no need to bring him to their respective facilities for further workouts.
"All the teams that I've talked to and my agent has talked to are talking about me getting drafted in the later rounds," said Sheehan, who passed for 10,117 yards and 70 TDs during his career at BG. "But all of them said if it doesn't happen don't get discouraged. My agent said I'll probably have about five to seven teams to choose from if I don't get drafted.
"So, being able to choose a team I want to go to might be a better situation for me if I don't get drafted."
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