Barnum attended Lakeland (FL) Lake Gibson and graduated in 2008. He committed to Florida in early January 2008, but Rich Rodriguez - who was hired from West Virginia in December 2007 - continued to recruit Barnum, who held offers from Georgia, Georgia Tech, South Carolina, South Florida, and West Virginia. He eventually made the flip from the Gators to the Wolverines on National Signing Day in February. He was a 4-star and the #5 center to Rivals, and he was a 3-star and the #17 offensive guard to Scout.
Barnum redshirted as a freshman in 2008. Michigan's coaching staff at the time really liked his mobility, and they started to work him in at various positions on the offensive line, including offensive tackle - despite the fact that Barnum stands just 6'3". As a redshirt freshman in 2009, he played left guard against Eastern Michigan and left tackle against Delaware State. In his redshirt sophomore season, he played left guard against Bowling Green, left tackle against Ohio State, and right guard in the bowl game against Mississippi State. Barnum finally earned a starting job as a redshirt junior in 2011, earning three starts before injury his ankle pretty badly and giving way to Michael Schofield. As part of his versatile training, Barnum had been snapping in practice throughout his career, and he was expected to be the starting center going into 2012; however, the surprise of opening day 2012 was that Barnum was back at left guard (Schofield had moved to right tackle) and fellow fifth year senior Elliott Mealer was inserted at center. Barnum struggled with ankle, knee, and forearm injuries throughout the first four years of his career, but he started all 13 games as a senior.
22 games played, 16 starts
I was never sold on Barnum as a viable offensive lineman at Michigan, even when Rich Rodriguez seemed to be trying to get him on the field early in his career. There was a time when "insiders" were suggesting that he could be Michigan's next starting offensive tackle, and that always bugged me because he clearly lacks the size to do so. His best position was always going to be guard or center. When Schofield took over for him in 2011, it was an improvement; the backup was better at pulling and drive blocking. Going into his senior season, I thought - as most people did - that Barnum would be the starting center. I even went so far as to place Barnum at #2 in the 2012 Season Countdown because it was so vital that he have a good season at center. Aside from him getting bumped over to left guard, the entire interior offensive line struggled, ncluding Barnum. Supposedly, Mealer was the superior snapper despite struggling as a blocker, too. It was a subpar season for Michigan's offensive line.
I WILL REMEMBER HIM FOR . . .
. . . being quite average.
Barnum runs well in a straight line, but Michigan's coaching staff didn't take particular advantage of his pulling skills. Perhaps they didn't trust him as a pulling guard. Despite his mobility, he doesn't stand out as an open-field blocker and he really struggles with drive blocking. At just 6'3" and 296 lbs. or so, he lacks the bulk to be effective at guard on the next level. Just like in college, I think his best position would be center, but his reported issues with snapping the ball consistently might be a problem there, too. I just don't see a future for Barnum in the NFL.