The 2006 season started off on a sour note for Joseph Barksdale and Detroit Cass Tech last week. The Technicians dropped their opening contest to Detroit Finney Friday when their second-half comeback fell just short.
Finney scored two touchdowns on interception returns en route to hanging 20 points on the scoreboard. Cass managed to score 14 points after the intermission to cut the lead to six, but they squandered a golden opportunity tie (and possibly take the lead) late in the fourth quarter.
"Our running back fumbled the ball on third and goal from the three yard-line," a disappointed Barksdale said. "We have to come back and play better against Northern this week. We can't wait until the second half to start playing."
As a leader on his team, Barksdale has made a concerted effort to put his squad's collective goals ahead of his own. Because of that, his recruitment has taken a backseat for the time being.
"I've stopped the recruiting thing for a while so I can focus on the season," he said. "I don't know what schools I'll be visiting officially yet, but I'll have that figured out sometime before November. I still plan to graduate early. That might change if the teachers' strike lasts for a long time, but at this point that's still my plan."
Barksdale recruitment may not currently be at the forefront his mind, but he does still plan to make it to a few games for unofficial visits this fall. He will be at the Notre Dame - Michigan contest in week three, and possibly Michigan's opener against Vanderbilt this weekend.
"I don't know if I'll being going yet," responded Barksdale when asked if he'd be in Ann Arbor Saturday. "Coach Campbell and Coach English have done a good job of staying in contact with me and my mom. I might be there, but I just don't know yet."
Ohio State is another school that is likely to receive an unofficial visit. In addition to Notre Dame, Michigan, and Texas…the Buckeyes have hovered near the top of Barksdale's list for much of his recruitment. Miami, USC, Penn State, Tennessee, Oregon, and Florida State have all been jockeying for position in the youngster's top five as well. His decision to slow down his recruitment will give him more time to sort through that list of schools. He previously mentioned the likelihood of taking only three official visits, but recently indicated that his plans have changed. Furthermore, the changes have resulted in another shake-up atop the talented lineman's leader-board.
"It's going to take a little longer than I initially planned to make my decision," Barksdale said. "My parents said that I should take all five visits if for no other reason than that I deserve to. But it's mainly so I can make the most informed decision."
"Texas told me that they can't hold a scholarship for me," he continued. "They told me that if I wait, they couldn't guarantee that a spot will still be there for me. So at this point, I don't have a leader anymore. I'm wide open."GoBlueWolverine will have more on Barksdale in the coming weeks.