Lyston Barber, a senior outside linebacker for Ocoee High, leads the Knights in several defensive categories this fall.
OCOEE A constant presence in opposing backfields, Ocoee senior linebacker Lyston Barber has been a crucial component in the Knights’ success on defense. Against Hagerty Oct. 1 in the biggest game of the season for the Knights so far, the outside linebacker came up big time and time again, including a pivotal tackle for a loss on a fourth down that helped propel Ocoee to victory.
A lifelong Ocoee resident who played as a youth for the Ocoee Bulldogs before his varsity career, Barber received his first Division I scholarship offer from Stetson University Sept. 12. Barber is hopeful that the incredible stats he is putting up this fall — Barber leads the Knights in tackles (51), tackles for loss (24) and sacks (8) — will help offset worries about how his size might translate to Division I football.
After all, at the end of the day coach Ben Bullock says his standout linebacker is a young man who makes plays.
“We’re trying to make sure that that’s promoted in recruiting — you can’t go past the fact that he just makes plays,” Bullock said. “His production stands for itself. We made him an outside linebacker in the 3-4 and he has really blossomed.”
How is your senior season stacking up so far in comparison to what you had envisioned?
It’s my senior year, so I’m going to try to go all out — all our seniors do that. I was hoping for a district title, because our school has never had that before and has never been to the playoffs. We’re almost there, now.
Looking back to your days with the Ocoee Bulldogs, what do you remember most?
I play linebacker now (in high school), but back when I was young I played running back, receiver and skill positions. That was always fun.
Do you take a certain sense of pride in sticking with the program through its down years, where other players transferred?
I’ve always played for Ocoee since I was 4 years old, all the way up. My freshman year and sophomore year (at Ocoee High), we didn’t have great seasons and people were telling me to leave. But I knew if I stuck it out it was going to get better. And Dorian (Jones) told me to stick it out with him and we stuck it out together and everything is turning around.
What is a subject in school that you enjoy?
I actually kind of like history. My favorite is learning about World War II — my grandpa was in World War II. It’s pretty cool learning about that.
What do you do with your downtime?
My downtime I usually go to the gym with my brother. Usually I watch videos on, like, J.J. Watt, and I listen to motivational videos when I’m at home to stay focused on my goals and dreams.
What is your non-football related dream job?
I would like to be a real estate agent because I feel comfortable talking to people and I think I would be a good salesman.