Defensive tackle Ricky Barber earns Freshman All-American status

Western Kentucky University defensive end DeAngelo Malone (10) and defensive tackle Ricky Barber (50) tackle Southern Mississippi quarter back Trey Lowe (8) on Nov. 14, 2020.

Matthew Hargrove

Almost a month after posting 10 tackles in the final game of his sophomore year, defensive tackle Ricky Barber has been honored as a Freshman All-American by the 2020 Football Writers Association of America.

“Honestly it’s a big accomplishment,” Barber said of the achievement. “Straight out of High School I didn’t get all-state my senior year. I was kind of upset about it, but I remember talking to coach Martin, he was just like ‘Don’t worry about it. We’re chasing All-American’, and we did it.”

Within an up and down season for WKU, Barber was one of the lone bright spots, in which he racked up 58 tackles, four sacks, and a forced fumble. Barber’s 58 tackles ranks him tied at No. 5 in the nation for FBS defensive linemen.


The redshirt freshman’s four sacks also ranked him tied at No. 9 in Conference USA in that category.

Barber’s efficient first full college season not only was an incredible achievement for himself, but defensive line coach Kenny Martin sees Barber’s early dominance as maybe the start of something special in the recruiting aspect for the Hilltopper program.

“That shows that being here at Western Kentucky you can be on a national spotlight. He was on the All-American list with guys from Pitt, Clemson, TCU, Alabama,” Martin said. “A lot of big name schools and then you see WKU flag with Ricky Barber next to it.”

The resume continues to improve for Barber, as his All-American status adds on to his 2020 Second team All-Conference trophy. According to the rookie lineman though, his grand campaign was not the height of what he can do on the football field.

“I had a good year, but it could have been better,” Barber said. “My plan is just to watch film, understand my mistakes, and just knowing I made Freshman All-American, but I could’ve had a way better season than I did.”

With that being said, it sounds like the next step for the freshman is to get all the way up to an All-American Team, which could come during Barber’s time on the Hill if he continues on the path he is on. 

Sports reporter Matthew Hargrove can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @MatthewHargrov1