Barrie Ready To Contribute Any Way He Can

The life of an offensive lineman isn't the easiest in the world. They do the dirty work and nobody really notices them until they make a mistake. Jim Barrie of Tampa's Berkeley Prep knows all about the tough, dirty work and the lack of recognition but this Gator commitment is all about doing whatever it takes to make his team better. His size, talent, intelligence and team first attitude are reasons why he's a valued member of the recruiting class of 2006.

(Jim Barrie profile)

Barrie said yes to the Gators back in December, adding another top prospect to Florida's exceptional recruiting class. Barrie was a high priority recruit since the Gators graduated four senior starters on the offensive line. This 6-5, 305-pounder fits the mold of the tough, intelligent offensive lineman that Coach Urban Meyer wants to pave the way for his spread option offense to work at peak efficiency.

Barrie is happy to be a part of Florida's growing class of recruits that is ranked number one in the nation by He's ready to get started with Florida's prescribed workout and eating regimen so that he can come to Gainesville ready to contribute as quickly as possible.

"They [Florida staff] are real excited about the whole class," Barrie said. "They think I can come in early and maybe contribute. I just want to get my workout in February and do what I can to help the team.

"They are saying [I will be at] tackle right now and that is where I would like to play. I played left tackle the whole time in California and did pretty well."

It was in California that Barrie got a chance to measure his talents against some of the best players in the country. He was a starter on the offensive line for the victorious Florida team in the annual CaliFlorida Bowl and it was a chance for him to go against great players in practice every day as well as in the game.

Barrie flew out to California with the Florida team right after Christmas. The weather was bad all week but the practices were highly beneficial.

"It was a great experience," he said. "The practice was the most helpful thing, because the defensive line was unbelievable. That's how I know I got better every day."

The California trip wasn't all football all the time. There was time for some sightseeing but best of all he got to hang around with several future teammates who were part of the Florida team.

"We were always busy and never in our hotel," he said. "We got a bunch of free stuff which was pretty cool. It was nice having all the Gators out there. Marcus Gilbert and I got to know each other really well. Timmy (Tebow), Dustin Doe, Bryan Thomas … everyone … we all had a good time."

Florida dominated the football game, which may have surprised some of the experts but not Barrie.

"I honestly think we had more talent than the California team. The speed and size couldn't compare and if it wasn't raining the game would have been worse. The field that we practiced on was horrible. I got sick like most out there after the game".

The all-star game was a nice ending to his high school football career. He had a very productive senior season but he does have one regret.

"I wish I could have enrolled early but it wasn't an option," he said. "I tried but I needed an English credit. We tried to get it done before the school year."

Until he arrives in Gainesville in July, he will be working diligently to prepare for what he knows will be a completely different level of football and lifestyle than he's ever experienced.

"I want to just get accustomed to college life," he said. "I want to get used to the speed of everything and adjusting to it all. I hope I can contribute, but I just want to go in there and do the best I can.

"I am going to bring everything to the table and do my best. I will bring an attitude."

He has become good friends with fellow Gator lineman recruit Marcus Gilbert. The friendships he has made with his fellow Gators may only be topped with the relationships he has built with the Gator coaching staff. He is visited as often as the rules allow by the Gator coaching staff.

"No other schools are contacting me," he said. "Coach (John) Hevesy and Coach (Steve) Addazio are coming by this week. Coach Meyer came by a week after I committed. It was awesome. Coach Meyer and Coach Addazio were here with my family. They were here for about three hours and we just sat around and talked."

Jim Barrie may be under-publicized and somewhat underappreciated but that's the fate of an offensive lineman. He doesn't mind as long as he can do his part to help the Florida Gators win some championships. He's firmly committed to helping the Gators reach their goals of Southeastern Conference and national championships in the future.

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