For Jim Barrie, Family Ties run North and South

After putting recruiting on hold due to a family illness, offensive lineman Jim Barrie of Berkeley Prep School in Tampa, Fla., is once again considering his college future. recently spoke with the big man -- and while he is a resident of the South, family ties to the North are strong, particularly to the Wolverine State.

Placing an exclamation point on the important aspects of life, Jim Barrie promptly put football recruiting in the closet when his sister, 28-year-old Jamie, underwent open-heart surgery. "I went down to visit her at Florida State, where she is in medical school," Barrie said. "The day I got there she collapsed. I put everything on hold while she got better. She's okay now -- actually she's painting at the moment. She should be able to go back to school in the fall." Barrie's sister developed what doctors call endocarditis, a condition where bacteria forms on the heart. If left unchecked, that bacteria would build and ultimately could seal off a valve, eventually killing the person.

With Barrie's attention focused on his big sister, recruiting plans have been shifted. "I wanted to make my decision before the season," he said. "I was supposed to take visits to Michigan, Oklahoma, and LSU but that got put on hold after my sister got sick. I'm hoping to be able to make the trips at the end of July but I don't have the dates set. My top five are LSU, Michigan, Oklahoma, Florida State and Nebraska. All of them have offered." Barrie said he was able to take in spring games at Nebraska and Florida.

With his sister home and recovering nicely, Barrie is ready to resume his look at schools. He said he would visit Auburn on Monday, then head to South Carolina, Duke and Tennessee later in the week.

The 6-foot-5, 305-pound Barrie said he grew up a Florida fan, yet hasn't received an offer from the Gators. However, one Florida school in his top five, Florida State, has a strong family pull. "Jamie is in medical school at Florida State and my other sister is applying for medical school," he said. "It would be awesome if we could all go to school together. We are a very close family, but I am still open." He said he wasn't sure if he was going to follow his sisters into medicine, but is considering the field.

However, the Barrie family also has strong ties to a particular northern state. "My parents are both from Michigan," he said. "They grew up in Grand Rapids and went to Michigan State. They are veterinarians." Is Barrie considering the Spartans? "No, my folks are Michigan all the way. My sister Jamie has a degree from U-M in public health, and we have a lot of family still in Michigan."

Barrie said he still plans on making an early decision as he plans on graduating in December. "Things have been busy around here with all that's happened," he said. "I would still like to get my decision out of the way so I can concentrate on my season."

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