Beyond The Trophy 2020: Get to know Western Michigan Chapter President and linebacker Zaire Barnes

Each week during the college football season we will feature a player who is an officer for an Uplifting Athletes Chapter for our Beyond the Trophy series.

Name: Zaire Barnes

College: Western Michigan University

Height, weight, class, position: 6-3, 225 pounds, junior, linebacker

High School: Carmel Catholic High School in Mundelein, Illinois

About Zaire: The former high school standout at running back and safety has converted to outside linebacker in college and has been making an impact on the field from the beginning of his collegiate career. Zaire has appeared in 24 games his first two years at WMU with four starts and is projected to be a starting linebacker this season. Zaire Barnes is part of the second wave of leaders for Western Michigan Chapter after co-founders Jamauri Bogan and Justin Tranquill move on. He joined the leadership team at WMU after his 2018 freshman season and attended the Uplifting Athletes Leadership Development Conference. 

What is your most memorable experience as a college football player?

BARNES: Going to my first bowl game. The Idaho Potato Bowl was one of the best experiences. It was something new I never thought I would be able to do.

What drove you to get involved with Uplifting Athletes?

BARNES: At first I was selected to go to the Leadership Conference, but once I got there and heard about the cause and message, I was all for it. Promoting rare diseases is a message that many more people need to hear.

What have you learned from your experience with Uplifting Athletes?

BARNES: How blessed I truly am. People out there have loved ones suffering and dying from rare diseases. And with the position I am in, I can make a difference. That’s how blessed I am.

What advice would you share with someone in high school looking to play college football?

BARNES: Work hard and be patient. Your time is coming. Reach out to coaches, but make sure you still have fun out there on the field. 

Who is your favorite NFL player and why?

BARNES: Former Pittsburgh Steelers safety Troy Polumalu because of how hard he played and his outlook on life. 

If you could have lunch with any one person (dead or alive), who would you choose and why?

BARNES: Jesus. I have so many questions to ask.


What is your perfect pizza?

BARNES: Meat lovers

All time favorite movie?

BARNES: End Game

What is your go-to fast food restaurant?

BARNES: Wendy’s

Favorite sports team (any sport)?

BARNES: Chicago Bears

What is the most used app on your phone?

BARNES: Instagram

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