Pittsford grad heading from Ohio State lax to Syracuse football

Local Sports

Barker is returning to punting where he was named All-State with the Panthers

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WROC) — After an All-American lacrosse career at Pittsford and a three-year stint at Ohio State, Colby Barker decided he wanted to do something different.

“Lacrosse is awesome and everything, but I knew after my senior year I wanted to try to do something else if I was going to go to school,” said Barker. “I didn’t really want to transfer for lacrosse.”

Barker didn’t even get a full three years with the Buckeyes. His junior season was cut short due to the pandemic and he decided to opt-out of the 2021 season for personal reasons.

Still, football was calling him. So the former All-State punter put together a highlight tape this fall to see if anyone was interested in his football talents. Syracuse, among other schools, was.

“I was pretty blown away that I was getting someone that high up and that prestigious like Syracuse,” Barker said. “It was pretty crazy. It’s still surreal to me.”

Syracuse is one of the best programs in the country at producing successful punters. Their last three starters are NFL draftees Sterling Hofrichter and Riley Dixon as well as Nolan Cooney, who was earned Honorable Mention All-American honors.

Once he focuses his attention solely on football, maybe Barker can get to their level.

“I think from a good starting point that I’m at to where I could end up, I think there’s a lot of room for growth,” said Barker. “Because I don’t think I’m really at a spot right now to compete. I think I still have to get the training and everything done.”

Barker will be a walk-on and compete for a starting job. He’s also looking forward to playing in front of his family and friends close to home.

“I gotta switch gears now and go back into football mode,” said Barker. “I haven’t put shoulder pads on in four years.”

“Just thinking about running out in the Carrier Dome on Saturday’s and everything like that, it feels like a dream come true.”

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