Barksdale's Impressive Offer List Grows

With offers from schools like Ohio State, Michigan, Tennessee, Notre Dame and Miami already in his back pocket prior to him attending the Nike Camp at the beginning of May, Joseph Barksdale of Cass Tech High School in Detroit has obviously impressed the rest of the country from what they saw of him or heard about him at the Nike camp. Schools like USC and Texas immediately joined in the fray and LSU is now the most recent school to offer. So does Barksdale have any favorite of the lot?

In terms of receiving the big-time scholarship offers, things were already going well for Joseph Barksdale of Detroit (Mich.) Cass Tech High School prior to the Nike camp at Ohio State. But since his stellar performance in Columbus in front of numerous college coaches from across the country, his stock has obviously soared to new heights.

"Since camp I've got offers, off the bat that I know, from Texas, USC, Illinois, Purdue, Penn State and just recently, today (Tuesday), I got an offer from LSU," said Barksdale, who guesses the number of scholarship offers that he's already received to date is somewhere around 40. "It's just sheer amazement. It's pretty big, it's still pretty big. Each offer still feels the same, you're all excited and you come home and tell mom and tell dad. It's pretty exciting."

Without question, Barksdale was one of the main attractions at the Nike camp and from most accounts he didn't disappoint anyone, including himself, with the way he handled his business there.

"I had fun at the Nike camp and I think it went really well for me," he said. "I was kind of disappointed with my bench press but, besides that, I think I did pretty well. I didn't have any regrets when I got on the field. I finished every exercise, I worked hard and I just tried to put it all out on the line and let everyone know what I'm all about."

Barksdale, who checked in at 6-6 and 320 pounds, didn't do any of the testing at the camp other than the bench press of which he repped 185 pounds, 34 times.

"I didn't want to mess up any of my numbers from previous combines," he said. "But I am trying hard to improve on my strength."

Going into the Nike camp, Barksdale was already considered by many to be one of the top defensive tackles in the country, if not the very top one. And after watching him move around so well for his size, Barksdale, most likely, enhanced his status with the schools that were already recruiting him.

But due to the camp being conducted during an NCAA-imposed quite period, Barksdale was unable to communicate directly with any of the coaches who attended the camp or get any first-hand feedback there.

But he did manage to spend some time with his close friend at Ohio State, Vernon Gholston, a former teammate of his at Cass Tech who was there to support Barksdale.

"I couldn't talk to any of the coaches, not even the Ohio State coaches, because I guess it was illegal because the NCAA has so many rules," Barksdale said. "But I did get a chance to talk to big Vern and we went out and grabbed a bite to eat at a chicken place."

Of course Barksdale quickly caught Gholston up on how the recruiting process had been treating him.

"Yeah me and Vern were talking about the recruiting process," Barksdale said. "He was asking me where I'm at and he was giving me tips and telling me other things that I should look for."

According to Barksdale, Gholston didn't really need to say anything positive about the Buckeye football program because Barksdale could see for himself that Ohio State has been very good to his friend.

"(Gholston) came here running a 4.5 (second 40-yard dash) but he put on about 20 more pounds of muscle and he's still running that 4.5," Barksdale said. "He looks a lot bigger, a lot leaner, he's more aggressive and he's just evolved into such a great player. That's pretty impressive. So it's not necessarily what he told me (about Ohio State) but it's more about what I can tell from looking at him and talking to him and seeing where he's at. So I guess that was the biggest thing that impressed me about Ohio State."

Gholston has always been a close friend and a mentor to his younger Cass Tech teammate. He communicates with Barksdale on a regular basis.

"I actually talked to him today (Tuesday)," Barksdale said. "We're pretty close. I've been looking up to Vernon since I got to Cass in the first place. He was the big-time recruit in his class and I wanted to be just like him. I still want to be just like him."

Whether that means that he too will choose to attend Ohio State or not is another story at this time. There's no question that OSU is one of the schools that Barksdale is seriously considering, but with the offers still pouring in he's not about to narrow anything down officially any time soon.

"I'm just taking everything in right now and enjoying the process but I'd guess that sometime around June is when I'm going to start going into my own evaluation process and take a look at all of the colleges that offered me," Barksdale said. "That's about when I'll attempt to make a list of a top 10 list or a top five."

Despite the public debate throughout the Internet on which school will win his services, Barksdale claims that he doesn't really know, even in his heart of hearts, where he's going to go right now.

"I used to," he said. "Well, I don't know. No, not really. It changes from like day to day."

Eventually Barksdale, who is slated to go on the Ted Ginn bus tour in June, will go into hiding and try to find out more about some of the top schools that he's interested in so he can plan on making a few unofficial visits before his senior season gets underway.

"During the season, I'm going to be there for my team and I'm not going to really try to take any official visits even though I might have to," said Barksdale who would ultimately like to announce what school he will attend at the U.S. Army All-American game in January if he's selected to play in that prestigious national all-star contest. "I plan to graduate early and so I'm going to have to get some official visits out of the way by the time that I graduate, which I think is in the third week of January."

Typically the third week in January will eliminate the option for Barksdale to play spring ball at schools that are on semesters as opposed to quarters. Chris Wells, for instance, graduated from Akron Garfield on Jan. 17 of this year and he enrolled at Ohio State in time for spring ball at the end of March.

"I'm really trying to play spring ball so I guess that's going to be a factor too," Barksdale said. "It's not a super-huge factor but it is going to play a part. But I am doing everything that I can to enroll early. I'm taking English in summer school and so I should have everything."

Barksdale currently sports a 3.5 GPA and already has scored a 22 on the ACT.

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