Despite USM Commit, Barrows' Mom is Key for BYU

While it has not impacted other equally far-flung Cougar "commits" from Texas, a Georgia running back's decision to verbally commit last week to Southern Mississippi was at the strong urging of his parents keen on keeping him close to home and hearth. He noted yesterday that BYU still occupies "the back of his mind" and it was now up to Cougar coaches to "move" his mother.

C.J. Barrows, a 6-2, 200-pound running back/safety with 4.5/40 who rushed for 1,514 yards on 159 carries for 14 touchdowns, said he had "softly verballed" to Southern Miss, "but I'm still looking at other options."

Barrows said he and his parents visited the team and coaches as they prepared for the Liberty Bowl matchup against eventual winner Utah. "It was great. The whole team was like a family," Barrows said. "I basically loved it. I went out there during the Bowl week with my mom and my dad. They loved and felt like that was the best place for me to go. It's definitely been one of the hardest choices I've had to make so far."

Along with linebacker teammate Gerald McRath, Barrows said that "I was originally planning on going to BYU and he was going to go to Auburn, but both our parents felt like Southern Miss was the best place. So if one goes to Southern Miss, then the other will go. It was basically a one-two punch to either Southern Miss or BYU," Barrows said.

Despite the soft verbal to Southern Mississippi, he added that BYU is not out of the picture yet.

"My parents have kind of persuaded me (to Southern Miss.), but it's (BYU) still in the back of my head. I haven't signed anything yet. (BYU co-offensive coordinator) Coach (Todd) Bradford is recruiting me. I talked with him last night. He's still trying hard to persuade me to come. I told him it's not with me. He's gotta prove to my mom that I'm going to come back home, he added.

"That's like the biggest thing. She's (mother) afraid that I'm not going to come back home. I made my choice, but I'm still thinking. Well, it's really my choice, but I always want the fact that it's all right with my parents. I'm an adult and have to make my own choices you know, but eventually I'm going to be on my own some time, anyways. It's not like I'm being drafted by the Seattle Seahawks or something."

Barrows said a strong pull in BYU's favor is that they are recruiting him specifically as a running back while most other schools want to switch him to defense as a safety or cornerback.

"At BYU, I'm the only running back that's been on an official visit and I think I'm the second running back to take a visit to Southern Miss," said Barrows.

He said the Cougars' running back depth chart includes only three running backs and two of them will be seniors. Sophomore Curtis Brown is "pretty much the only guy I would have to compete with. It makes it tough."

Of his Jan. 9 official weekend visit to Provo with McGrath, Barrows said, "It was a very wholesome environment and I really loved it out there. I've never been around a lot of snow before, the people were just nice and it was a great town. It gets cold, but I've never seen nothing like that. It was really beautiful. I went snowmobiling and it was a first for me," Barrows continued.

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