"Every school is recruiting me as defensive tackle. That is my position! I'm a defensive tackle! Scout.com thinks I'm an offensive lineman, according to their 'expertise', but I'm not," Barksdale said.
"One of my biggest strengths is tenacity--my coach says I have a motor. I always have the first step off the ball and I always come really fast and really hard. I have good instincts to know where the ball is going to be and where the players have gone," he emphasized. "There is always room for improvement in these areas, and I have to remember not to let it go to my head. Football is my job--everyday, all day."
Barksdale denies having a favorite, saying, "This is still new to me. In the beginning I didn't expect to be a national recruit but I always planned to go through the whole recruiting process. Now, it's like picking a car from a car lot. One is lacking something another has (and vice versa).
"I've visited Ohio State, where my friend Vernon Gholston is a redshirt sophomore, as well as Michigan, Notre Dame, and just recently I took an unofficial visit to the Longhorn camp in Austin, Texas. There, I waited in line for registration and then watched defensive tackle coach Mike Tolleson. He is a commodity in the world of coaches because he's more a teacher than a coach.
"I also plan to visit LSU, Florida State, Miami, Penn State, USC and others. Currently I am selling raffle tickets through the student-athlete organization, Detroit Canons. The money I earn helps me to travel to schools.
"I'm trying narrow it down and determine some favorites, but I will probably have to visit the schools first. I see the campuses on TV and they are all big and beautiful, but I have to find out about their facilities and stuff too. I've heard horror stories about the training tables," Barksdale said with a laugh. "The food's got to be good. But importantly, I will evaluate the coaches' personalities--whether they care about me as an individual or if they just intend to use me for football. Also, (I'll look at) if the coaching consists of cussing in your face or just teaching you how to improve. I'm also looking for a school with a good reputation or name. I'd rather not have to live in the dorms for too many years. I'll also be watching to see how the teams do this season, since I don't plan on committing until mid-season."
Final junior season stats: 83 tackles, 20 tackles for loss, five forced fumbles, eight sacks, 10 fumble recoveries and two deflected passes.
Barksdale reports a 3.5 core GPA and 22 ACT--no retake planned.