It’s been a good weekend for Penn State football, and the good vibes continued Sunday when four-star Class of 2025 running back Kiandrea Barker announced his commitment.
Barker, listed at 5-foot-11 and 183 pounds, is the No. 9 tailback in the 2025 Class and the No. 10 overall player in Texas, according to 247Sports’ composite rankings.
He’ll be playing his upperclassman years at The Woodlands School in Houston after playing his first two years at Beebe High School in Arkansas.
Nittany Sports Now spoke with Barker Saturday night before he made his commitment public Sunday afternoon. Barker described himself to NSN as a “hard runner” who is fast and capable of making big plays but also not afraid to lower the boom on a defender.
Barker has lived in Arkansas for most of his life. Barker is originally from Los Angeles, but his family moved to Newport, Arkansas, when he was five and then to Beebe, less than an hour away.
Penn State doesn’t get a lot of players from Arkansas. Both Arkansas and Texas exemplify southern football states.
Penn State doesn’t fit that description, but head coach James Franklin and his staff recruit everywhere. The program was the second Power Five school to offer Barker, doing so last April when he was still a freshman. Penn State recruited Barker well enough to land one of the top running backs in the 2025 class.
Penn State has been producing outstanding running backs since the 1960s.
Greats such as Franco Harris, Curt Warner and Larry Johnson made their marks on Happy Valley.
Today, Nick Singleton and Kaytron Allen are one of, if not the top rushing duo in college football.
This lineage was one of the main things that inspired Barker to pick Penn State, and his bond with Franklin and his staff also played a big part.
By the time Penn State started its annual Blue-White Game Saturday, Barker had his mind made up.
It was, indeed, a happy weekend in Happy Valley.
“They showed me love,” Barker told Nittany Sports Now Saturday night, “and then they gave me my first big offer when I was in my freshman year and kept a mutual relationship ever since then.
“And from having the visit there and showing us the love that they showed us, it felt like it was the right thing to do.”
Barker said visiting Penn State this past weekend opened his eyes, but he had “been having my mind set on Penn State since January.”
“There were still other schools that were keeping me interested until I came up to the visit,” he said.
Barker narrowed his recruitment to five finalists, including Florida State, Miami, Ole Miss and Mississippi State, all Power Five schools in the south.
As mentioned above, Penn State’s coaching staff was a big reason for Barker’s commitment. The staff members who most significantly impacted Barker’s recruitment were running backs coach Ja’Juan Seider and assistant running backs coach Charles Walker
Seider and Walker were the first to find out the good news, which Barker broke the morning of the Blue-White Game.
Seider has developed a reputation as a recruiter in addition to his work developing running backs.
Kiandrea Barker said he and Seider have been building a bond that goes beyond football, and that relationship grew over Blue-White Weekend.
“I feel the vibe and comfort from him as a coach,” Barker said, “more than just being a coach. He’s somebody that I can talk to whenever I have problems.”
As for the head coach?
“He’s a character,” Barker said. “I love him.”
Although Franklin’s known to be a jokester, the boss knows when to be serious, and that honesty appeals to Barker.
“He kept it straight up with me,” Barker said. “He wasn’t giving us any sweet talk, none of that, and that’s how I wanted it. He was telling us that we’re going to have to work for what we want.”
It was during a presentation from Penn State’s coaching staff that KiAndrea Barker made up his mind. When he told Seider and Walker in Penn State’s Lasch Building, it pleased them, as one could imagine.
“They were happy,” Barker said. “They were ready for me to make the move.”
A runner that Barker tries to pattern himself after is another man whose last name starts with “Bark.” He’s primarily known as “Saquon,” and he’s popular amongst Penn State fans.
Barker is the second player to announce his commitment within 24 hours. Wyomissing’s Caleb Brewer, a three-star Class of 2024 offensive lineman, announced his commitment Saturday evening. Barker’s also the third player to join Penn State’s Class of 2025, joining four-star offensive tackle Jaelyne Matthews (Toms River, NJ) and ATH Omari Gaines (Newark, NJ)
College football fans will have to wait more than two years, at least, to see what Kiandrea Barker can do in front of 100,000+. But Barker told NSN that he’s already hoping to help bring a national championship back to Happy Valley.