Our Mission:

Prime U exists to help individuals become the best versions of themselves through talent development solutions, individual coaching and team culture development.



Prime U's Founder:


Jarrod Barnes

Jarrod Barnes founded Prime U in 2017 out of the desire to help bridge the gap between education being delivered in the classroom and application within real-world scenarios.

As a former student-athlete, collegiate coach, and administrator, Jarrod has seen and experienced the needs of students and young professionals within the collegiate landscape and workplace. While working on his Ph.D. at Ohio State, Jarrod focused his research on how to develop the talent and potential of millennials and generation Z. Research, experience, and consistent presence alongside young people are what gives Prime the expertise and knowledge to execute values-based leadership training, holistic student development, and provide innovative learning solutions.

From experiencing homelessness to pursuing the NFL and now interacting daily with top coaches and CEOs, Barnes consistently delivers a high impact message that inspires hearts and minds as well as pushes people to pursue the best versions of themselves. 

Barnes knows that challenge personally. 

A lifelong football player, Barnes is a former student-athlete at the University of Louisville and The Ohio State University. At Ohio State, he was named Academic All-Big Ten and nominee for the Wuerffel Trophy - College Football’s Top Community Service Award. He was the recipient of the John Carlos Sports Humanitarian Award in 2016. In 2017, Barnes was named a National Football Foundation scholar-athlete and Hampshire Honor Society member while also receiving the McMurray Student-Athlete Citizenship Award from The Ohio State University.

He was the first ever The Ohio State University football player to pursue a Ph.D. while on the active roster. 

In 2017, Barnes launched Prime U, a leadership development training company that initially focussed on providing services for recent college graduates and young professionals to transition into the workplace and reach their prime performance. Since the company’s inception, service offerings have grown to address similar needs in the non-profit and corporate space. 

A native of Columbus, Ohio, Barnes has been recognized by Who’s Who Magazine, NPR Radio, ESPN, Fox Sports, and The Big Ten Network. 

He holds a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Louisville and a a Master’s degree from The Ohio State University; he is currently pursuing a Master’s degree from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a Ph.D in Sports Management from The Ohio State University. 

Jarrod resides in Charlotte, North Carolina and is a current Khayrallah Innovation Fellow at the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill.

Jarrod Barnes presenting at the 2018 Black student-Athlete Summit at the University of Texas.

Prime U Staff & Interns

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Scott Woods



Charlotte, NC

Role at  Prime U:  Leadership Strategist

With over 25 years of strategic and financial experience, Scott acts as in an advisory capacity at Prime U focused on strategy and ensuring proper alignment of people, process and products.

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Jamie Wood


Columbus, OH

Role at Prime U: Talent Developer

Jamie joined Prime U in May 2018 as a Talent Developer and serves as a workshop facilitator and leadership content creator for our student-athlete and young professional training programs.


Kynan Rocks

Location: New York, NY

Role at Prime U: Business Development Intern


Devin  Norwood

Location: Charlotte, NC

Role at Prime U: Brand & Content Development Intern


Alexandria Absey

Location: New York, NY

Role at Prime U: Leadership and Talent Development Intern

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“Jarrod is on the cutting edge in terms of concerns about the student-athlete…His maturity, his attention to detail, his big-picture thinking, and his genuine care about the student-athlete…I just hope we hire him at some point at this university, I love him. I think he is a great role model for a lot of our players. And not just our players, for all of college football. When he speaks, people listen”
— Urban Meyer, Head Coach, Ohio State Football
“I cannot thank Jarrod enough for helping me take my leadership to the next level. He was prepared every step of the way to challenge and help me understand my leadership qualities. His consultation not only got me ready to host our first ever Game Changing Retreat but laid the foundation to continue making a positive impact on the lives of future leaders.”
— Corinne Milien, Executive Director of The Winning Edge Leadership Academy, Former ESPN Producer
Jarrod is an amazing speaker and very thorough in his approaches to address the needs of the student-athlete. He understands who they are and what type of approaches we need to take to help them become successful.
— James Taylor, Academic Advisor, Hampton University