RECRUITING: Gators making headway with Barrie

Offensive lineman Jim Barrie of Tampa Berkeley Prep is one of the more heralded players at any position in the state of Florida. With offers from the likes of Notre Dame, Michigan, Florida State, Tennessee, and Florida, the 6-5, 305 pound lineman has a who's who of offers to choose from. His latest offer came from the University of Florida and the monster lineman actually grew up a Gator fan.

(Jim Barrie profile)

Still, with the late offer, the Gators have to work a little harder to corral the services of the big man. It seems it just might be happening.

Barrie has already officially visited three of his top five of Florida, Florida State, Michigan, Notre Dame, and Tennessee. The original thought was to take an official visit to Florida this weekend for the Florida State game, but that plan has changed. He will still be at the game, but will visit the Gators officially the following week on December 2. A week later he will visit Florida State for his final official visit.

"Right now all five are pretty much even," Barrie said. "I will be there this week for the game and take my official the following week on December 2."

The Gators seemed to have made up ground fast but will definitely have their work cut out for them. They plan on starting it right this weekend. caught up with Barrie during his studies. As good as he is on the field, he is also an excellent student. It comes naturally to him because both of his parents are veterinarians that attended the University of Florida. His family has a lot of Orange and Blue in it.

"I have an AP Biology test tomorrow, so I am studying," Barrie said in mock disgust. "I am into foreign policy -- I like that class. Both of my parents are veterinarians and I am leaning towards that. Actually, my mom works at the vet school at the University of Florida. She works there three days a week. My sisters also went to Florida."

It's been a busy fall for Barrie who helped his team to a 6-4 record. He has been on three official visits during the season and just finished with Michigan this past weekend. Barrie has a lot to say about the schools on his list:

Michigan: "I had a good time, but it was cold and a little different when I got off the plane at home. Getting to talk to Coach Moeller, the offensive line coach and Coach Carr, I really enjoyed that. They have a solid staff. They are always up there with the tops in the nation but were hit by the injury bug like Florida and Florida State."

Tennessee: "I went when they played South Carolina. I really liked the coaching staff and talked to the players a lot. It was tough game because they played Vanderbilt. I also saw them on my Notre Dame visit and when they played Florida. They pulled an O-fer (against all three)."

Notre Dame: "Coach Weis is an awesome guy and is really going to help bring Notre Dame back to the top."

Florida: "Yes, they have definitely started picking up the recruiting. I talked to Coach Hevesy Monday and I have talked to Coach Meyer a couple of times. I don't have that relationship like I do with most coaches, so this weekend we will continue to build on that. They told me I can come in and do well. They say wherever I fit in at guard or tackle it doesn't matter, Coach Hevesy is a ‘best five play' (best five OL) sort of coach, so I would play wherever he puts me."

Florida State: "The situation is really good. They are losing some guys and they don't have much depth. I really like Coach McHale a lot. We have built a strong relationship since this past summer."

His relentlessness and perseverance are what separate him apart from most on the football field. There is something to be said about a 305 pound man that continues to pound away on the opposition.

"I thought I progressed throughout the season," he said. "I thought the last two games I finished strong. I give all out effort and am as aggressive as possible."

In the end it's going to be about where Barrie feels he fits best. It will be where he can go in and fit into a program and feel like he is wanted and needed. He's looking for that special bond.

"After I have taken all five trips, we (family) will sit down and talk about it," said Barrie. "When I go to Florida State and Florida, I want to hang out with the players and see how I like them, I think that will be a big factor. How I feel with the coaching staff and everything around the program, academics and everything. Hopefully I will decide around Christmas."

Jim Barrie will make someone happy for the holidays this season. The Gators would be ecstatic to land this big time player who has also been a lifelong Florida Gator fan.

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