RECRUITING: Barrie Says It's All Even

It has to be a strange feeling for Jim Barrie Saturday evening as he watched Florida and Florida State do battle in The Swamp. This is the stadium where he grew up watching the Gators so that was a plus, yet on the other side of the field was FSU, which has recruiting him hard all year. Trying to stay neutral on an electric evening like that was difficult for the big offensive tackle from Tampa's Berkeley Prep.

(See Jim Barrie profile)

Florida came away with the win, 34-7, and now the hard part begins for Barrie. The 6-5, 305-pounder has two official visits remaining and it's only fitting that the last two are reserved for Florida (Dec. 2) and Florida State (Dec 9). He says that going into the last two visits, everything is even.

"I am going to just take the last two visits and take it from there," he said. "I don't have any leaders or anything."

Last Saturday he watched a defensive struggle that turned into a blowout once the Gators got their offense untracked. Barrie took mental notes about the offensive line play in the game.

"Florida's offensive line was pretty good in pass pro, and obviously FSU has an awesome defense, so they had a pretty tough time running the ball," he said. "I definitely like that Randy Hand caught that pass there. I can definitely see myself doing that."

Teased that he should tell Florida offensive line Coach (John) Hevesy that he will sign with the Gators if guaranteed three pass attempts coming his way per game, Barrie shot back, "I'll tell him that on Tuesday (in-home visit)."

He watched as Florida State's offensive line struggled throughout the game. Barrie thinks depth is a major issue at FSU but that's not a negative for a recruit looking for playing time.

"Florida State offensive line has absolutely no depth because of injuries," he said. "They had a lot of inexperienced guys in and were having a tough time with Florida's pass rush. There is a big opportunity to play there. There is hardly any depth there."

Barrie was actually in Gainesville from Friday to Sunday eve though it wasn't an official visit weekend. He came up with some friends and tailgated during most of the day Saturday and generally had a good time.

"We got there late Friday night," he said. "I was with a lot of friends. We went there and had a great time. We tailgated for a while, and then we got to the game about 3 p.m. at the stadium."

He has been to the Swamp numerous times with his parents who are both veterinarians and Florida graduates. The Swamp was a rocking place Saturday night and Barrie was impressed with the atmosphere along with some other notables at the game.

"The atmosphere was great," he said. "Obviously it was The Swamp and it's tough to compare because of that. They [Gators] played really well and pretty much beat Florida State on both sides of the ball. I saw a whole bunch of people that I knew … Cruz Barrett, Jimmy Sapp, Daron Rose, and Timmy Tebow … I saw all those guys."

Afterwards he ventured into the locker room and got to see first hand the celebration after the game. He got a bit of attention from the offensive linemen and coaches when they saw he was in the locker room.

"They were real excited from the game," he said. "I got to meet all the offensive linemen and they were real upbeat about the win. Coach Hevesy talked to me after the game. I said a quick hello to Coach (Steve) Addazio.

Barrie wants the comfort factor when he chooses a school. The Gators got in a little later than most schools on Barrie and are still trying to make him feel a little more comfortable with them. Slowly but surely it seems to be working.

"My decision is going to come down to how comfortable I am with everyone," he said. "When I visit Florida and Florida State I want to see how comfortable I am with the coaches and players. I have definitely been talking to Coach Hevesy a lot and gotten to know him a lot better. That aspect has improved from before."

Hevesy had an in home with Jim Barrie on Tuesday. Barrie will visit Gainesville this weekend and the Gators will try to make a final statement that will swing the recruiting momentum solidly in their favor.

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