Florida Looks West for DL Help

It is no secret that the Florida Gators are going to have a huge need on the defensive line after the 2010 season. Six defensive linemen that are expected to play a lot or start in 2009 will likely move on leaving a sizable hole in the depth chart up front. The Gators are no stranger to California and the defensive line and have their sites set on a big one in Todd Barr of Lakewood, California.

Brian White has already flexed his recruiting muscle as a Florida Gator assistant and helped land two of the very best prospects from California last season. Coach White is on the trail again this spring and visiting the West coast and he has his sights set high again.

Todd Barr is a 6-3, 265 pound menace in the middle of the defensive line. Before White visited with Barr last week, he led the young man to believe he would be getting an offer from the Gators and then it happened.

"He told me that Florida had a high interest in me and that I had a great motor," Barr said of a conversation he had with White prior to him being on campus in Lakewood. "He didn't say they were offering, but basically said words meaning the same thing. He said, 'We got Ronald Powell to travel halfway across the world, and we want the same from you.' Three days later I received the offer in the mail."

He made sure to check back in with Coach White after his offer came in the mail.

"I called Coach White two days later and see how his flight went and how things were going and thanked him for the offer," he said. "He said that I have great potential, that I have a great motor, am a great kid, and have great character."

Barr is up to 24 offers, the last from Florida and he is far from making any kind of decision. He will soon try and start limiting the schools by creating a list of priorities from which to choose.

"When I am done with spring ball and school, I am going to make a check list in what I am looking for in the programs," he said. "The ones with the most checks will be my top five."

The interest from so many programs comes for several different reasons. Barr is an exceptional athlete for his size with supreme quickness. On top of that, he is a great kid and excels in the classroom. Still, it is the ability on the field that gets him noticed and he says that comes from a lot of hard work over time.

"I used to play when I was real young, but stopped because I always wanted to run the ball and hated playing the offensive line and defensive line," he said laughing. "I was always one of the chunkier kids and just really started growing."

He has sprouted in the last couple of years and added 40 pounds of muscle in that time. He also spends an inordinate amount of time working on the little things that make his game better.

"Speed, get off, and shedding blocks are my strengths," he said. "Bernard Riley, my position coach, saw something in me that I didn't see. He put the extra time in with me and I worked out with him. I would crawl up the bleachers and run around the track working on my hand movement stuff (in the off-season), when the season started I was ready and he got me where I needed to be."

Now he runs around offensive linemen like they are planted in concrete. For those programs that stopped by and watched practice, they knew right away he was something special...otherwise, most finally got a hold of his junior highlight film and that made these programs real believers.

"A few schools had been out to my practice before my highlights came out and they saw me and and wondered who I was," he said. "Then my highlight tape got out there and the offers started coming in."

A fan of the two Los Angeles programs as a child, Barr is just excited to have the opportunity to pick from so many different big time programs.

"I grew up a fan of USC and UCLA," he said. "UCLA has offered and USC hasn't. I am blessed with a ton of scholarship offers and if I don't get another I am very content."

He did say the Florida offer was something special.

"Most definitely," he answered when asked if the offer had any special meaning. "Florida only recruits the best and not everyone has a Florida offer. For them to recruit Sharrif Floyd, Ronald Powell, and Dominique Easley...the top defensive linemen. For me to be thrown into that bunch as a Gator would be a great honor. Plus, them coming across the United States to see me is a big deal.

Destined to play the three-technique or quick tackle position on the defensive line, Barr would welcome the help up front.

"If I come in and put in the extra work," he started in response to why he would like to play with other talented players. "They are all great players and I got to watch Easley work in the Under Armour Game and he is a complete monster. I will come in and put in the work necessary for me to play. The recruiting class ahead of me doesn't effect me, because I just have to put in the hard work."

While he hasn't set up his checklist for what he is looking for in a program, Barr does know two things that will be at the top of the list.

"Education and relationship with the position coach," are his top priorities. "School comes before anything in my household. Without school in my eyes nothing else can happen. If I had bad grades I wouldn't be going to anything because my mom is hard on me about education and she has instilled in me."

With his 3,6 GPA, Barr can't decide now between an Animal Science major or one in Sports Broadcasting. The latter will allow him to stay in a field he really loves.

"I love football with all my heart and if I ever have an injury I still have football and the best of both worlds," he said about being a broadcaster one day.

The last hurdle for a lot of the schools will be distance. For Barr, it is an obstacle, but one he claims will not be something that will limit his options when it comes to making a decision.

"I am kind if in a difficult situation," he said. "I want to take official visits, but I don't want it to seem like I am getting a free ride. I feel that an unofficial visit should be for a chance to go see places you haven't seen before and it would be hard because of cost. I want to see places like Florida, Nebraska, Tennessee, and other places on the East Coast."

While it isn't easy to get to those places, he knows he can choose anywhere and his family will back him 100%.

"My parents would come see me no matter where," he said. "If my heart is in a school I am willing to take the risk of the distance."

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