The 6-foot-2-inch, 191-pound senior faxed the agreement—his John Hancock in ink and along with family, friends and 'Canes Head Football Coach Frank Barden—to Athens before 8 this morning.
"It's just good to know I'll be a Georgia Bulldog and I'll be walking on the field there next year to play," Barber said shortly after 8 a.m. during a phone interview with Cartersville Patch.
Both Barber and Bulldog Head Coach Mark Richt made quick work of a June non-binding commitment, as the kicker then averaging more than 43 yards per punt was offered and accepted a scholarship during a Saturday camp.
"Collin's Grandpa Charlie is a huge UGA fan [and] is probably more excited than anybody to know he will be a Dawg," mother Marian Barber said.
The No. 6 punter in the country, 18-year-old Barber credits his success and bright future to a number of family, friends, supporters, coaches and teachers—including technique coach Mark Nolan; kicking coach Kyle Tucker; fellow 'Canes kicker Preston Slemp and father, Scott; and the Vance family.
"Kyle and Alexis [Vance] and their kids are the godliest people," Barber said. "They taught me a lot about God, especially McKenzie, who is in my grade."
Ironically, Barber's sports career began on a soccer field about the time he learned to walk, but it wasn't long until the 2011 Georgia High School Association All-Star demonstrated a strong leg.
"I didn't even think about playing football until my freshman year and T.J. Barden wanted me to try out and said, 'You've got nothing to lose,'" Barber said, adding T.J. is the son of the Hurricanes' football coach.
While he appreciates and applauds the support of his large family—mom along with brothers Philip, Andrew and Michael; step-brothers Garrett and Tyler Livingood and step-sister Krista Livingood Duncan—it was step-father and former CLASH Soccer coach Kirk Livingood who, prior to their relation by marriage, said Barber "had something."
And his own father—a Bulldog fan who loved soccer, but passed away when Barber was 17, about a week prior to his attendance at Kohl's Professional Camps' 2011 Underclassman Challenge—had joked about the punter one day kicking among the hash marks at Sanford Stadium.
But for Barber and family, National Signing Day ink and paper represents a lot more than football: a huge opportunity and an education.
“When I think of all the things that have happened to Collin over the past several years, one of my concerns has been affording college," Marian Barber said. "This scholarship is a blessing. I am proud of how Collin has handled adversity and managed to smile and stay focused on punting. It did pay off big time and he deserves it.
"[He has a] determination to stay strong with hope," said the volunteer coordinator for local nonprofit Advocates for Bartow's Children. "He always says, 'Dream Big and Go Big.'"
The Hurricane turned Bulldog, who for now plans a career in the medical field, said his Athens studies will be top priority because "education is the biggest thing." But "if [a pro football career] is what God has planned," he's not ruling out a chance at the NFL.
In the next few months, Barber, excited about his next step, will savor his last days walking the halls of Cartersville High as a Purple Hurricane.
"It's upsetting," he said. "I'll miss my friends, and a lot of teachers and coaches."
But, as his mom points out, Cartersville's star punter won't be far from home.
His paperwork submitted and processed and his name and profile added to the Bulldogs' official list of signees, Barber's ceremonial signing and press conference is set for 2 p.m. at Cartersville High School.