Barksdale will make return trip to ND's No. 11 rated defensive tackle Joseph Barksdale of Cass Technical high school (Detroit, Mich.) dropped by South Bend last weekend to see Notre Dame defeat Penn State in the 2006 season home opener. This weekend the Irish meet Michigan and Barksdale is planning a return trip.

Joseph Barksdale (6-foot-4, 310) took an unofficial visit to Notre Dame last weekend and he was looking for the Irish to play a big game -- they didn't disappoint.

"It's a shut down defense. There isn't much more you can say," Barksdale replied when asked about Notre Dame's performance against the Nittany Lions. "There's a night and day difference between the defense last year and this year. The biggest change that I've seen is that they seem more athletic. I think they saw where they could go after last year, so they went into the off-season with more determination.

"I think it was impressive that they wore out Penn State. Penn State isn't one of those teams you can just kick aside. Penn State is a powerhouse and the Notre Dame defense just kept coming and coming; the offense kept coming."

The Notre Dame defense wasn't all that impressed Barksdale. The crowd at Notre Dame stadium also made a strong impression on him.

"The fans and the atmosphere really stood out," Barksdale said. "Their fans are dedicated. The students are really behind their team. I didn't expect the stadium to be that loud. My dad and me were sitting right next to each other and we basically had to yell to hear each other."

Barksdale will get another chance to hear the Notre Dame crowd this weekend as he makes a return trip for his first official visit.

"This will be my fourth visit to Notre Dame," he said of his official visit for the Michigan game. "I want to experience the social life and see what goes on during gameday. I want to take a tour of the university. I want to see what type of housing situation the players are in and hang out with some of the players. I'm sure I'll have some other questions."

Notre Dame will need to make a big impression on Barksdale because he will still take his remaining four official visits.

"Ohio State, USC, Texas, Miami and LSU are the other schools I', still considering," Barksdale explained. "I'm going to go to LSU in November. I'm going to USC when they play Notre Dame. My last visit will be to Ohio State, the second week of December. I haven't set my last visit yet." Top Stories