By: Ella Vincent
With the NFL season over, football fanatics should know about the Barbers, a Plymouth football family dynasty. From Father Marion Barber, Jr. to his three sons Marion III, Dominique, and Thomas, this family has made an impact in Plymouth football and beyond.
Father Marion Barber, Jr.
Marion Barber, Jr. played football for the Gophers in the late 1970s, where he set several records. The New York Jets picked him in the second round of the NFL draft, and he had a successful NFL career. Marion later settled in Plymouth with his wife Karen and three sons: Marion III, Dominique, and Thomas.
Firstborn Son Marion Barber III
Born and raised in Plymouth, Marion Barber III was a football star at Wayzata High School (located in Plymouth) before becoming a Gopher and playing in the NFL. At Wayzata, he was a SuperPrep and PrepStar All-Midwest and All-State honoree. He also led the team in interceptions, with 3 of those against former Minnesota Twins catcher Joe Mauer.
Like his father, Marion set multiple records playing football for University of Minnesota. Marion was an All-Big Ten selection and ranks just one step above his father in rushing touchdowns.
Marion was drafted in the fourth round of the 2005 draft by the Dallas Cowboys, invited to the 2007 Pro Bowl, and played seven seasons in the NFL. He was a “tough, downfield runner” and was the 2007 league leader in breaking tackles.
Second Son Dominique Barber
Following his father and older brother’s footsteps is Dominique Barber. Dom was a star athlete at Wayzata, where he was selected for the SuperPrep Midwest Team and PrepStar All-Midwest Region. In 2004, he was named all-state and all-county as a defensive back and was an all-conference/area selection as a running back. He was also a leading scorer as a left-wing on a talented Wayzata hockey team that included future NFL’s Blake Wheeler.
Dom hung up his Wayzata skates and went on to play football with the Golden Gophers. Like his father and older brother, Dominique lettered as a true freshman at Minnesota. He was named All-Big Ten Honorable Mention and named to the All-Big Ten team after leading the team with 100 tackles.
Dominique was picked in the sixth round of the 2008 NFL Draft by the Houston Texans. He played for several seasons before returning to Minnesota where he joined the Gophers coaching staff.
Third Son Thomas Barber
Youngest son Thomas Barber played football at Armstrong High School in Plymouth. He was an exceptional 235-pound linebacker who was a foundation of the defense and also a foundation for team character. Coach Jack Negen said, “He’s just a class guy in school and a leader on our football team, high GPA kid, and all the character we’re looking for.”
Thomas graduated early and began college at the University of Minnesota in January of his senior year. Despite the early transition to college, Thomas was an Academic All-Big Ten. He was also exceptional on the football field. He was an All Big-Ten Honorable Mention and tied for second in the Gopher’s all-time history with seven fumble recoveries.
Thomas received other significant awards as a Gopher, like the Neil Fredenburg Award for love of the game, and the RTB Trust Award for players that have earned the most trust of their teammates. Perhaps even more significant is that he brought this football family full circle. Even though Thomas is the fourth Barber to play for the Golden Gophers, He is the first son to wear the Gophers #42, his father’s jersey number.
It is impossible to sum up the talent and contributions of this family in one article, but they will certainly give hope to young athletes across the city of Plymouth.