The news that Detroit Cass Tech defensive tackle Joseph Barksdale was among the attendees at Michigan’s annual open house yesterday came as bit of a surprise to many that have followed his recruitment… including the young man himself. Earlier this month the 6-5, 315-pound lineman had resigned himself to not traveling to Ann Arbor for the event, and the Wolverines' apparent slide down his still broad list seemed destined to continue. Then late in the week a parental nudge gave the Maize and Blue just the kind of assist it needed.
“My mom really wanted me to go,” Barksdale said. “She didn’t think it was very good for me to pass up that opportunity. You can’t turn mom down. Mother knows best. (Laughing)”
While Barksdale had yet to officially narrow his list of suitors, it was evident that a few programs had established very strong footings in his recruitment. It was also evident that Michigan was not one of them. When the coaching staff in Ann Arbor finally got face to face with the talented youngster they discovered the reason for that and shot it down in very short order.
“I basically met with the coaches for the whole day,” said Barksdale. “A lot of things were clarified. Coach Carr told me personally that they had no intentions of switching me to offensive lineman unless I wanted to be switched. We discussed a lot of things like that… just a whole bunch of rumors that I’ve been hearing about Michigan.”
Michigan defensive coordinator Ron English also spent a great deal of time with the Barksdales, and in the process further refuted the misinformation that had been given to him and his family about the Wolverines.
“(Coach English) met my mom, and the same things got clarified for her,” he said. “A whole bunch of questions were answered for her as well. It made it easier for us to continue with Michigan in the recruiting process. We basically just got to know each other. We talked a lot about the defense and what he saw me playing as if I came to Michigan and that sort of thing.”
Barksdale’s fresh outlook on the Michigan program has the Wolverines in an enviable position as his cut-down day approaches. He will settle upon his five finalists in the very near future, and now it would be a major surprise if the Maize and Blue wasn’t one of the last teams standing.
“I’m almost there,” responded Barksdale when asked if he was ready to name a top five. “I’ll trim it down mid-August.”
“I don’t think I’ll be taking five official visits,” he continued. “It’s looking like three or four. Right now it’s looking like Michigan will be one of them.”
GoBlueWolverine will have much more on Barksdale in the coming months.