Barksdale Doesn't Have Official Top 5 Yet

Although he hasn't officially named his Top 5 schools just yet, it seems like four of the five official visits for Joseph Barksdale are already accounted for. He's officially visited Notre Dame in their game against Michigan and has LSU slated for a visit Nov. 11 and USC on Nov. 25. Barksdale, who will enroll early in college, has previously stated that OSU will be his last official visit.

Tracking the recruitment of Joseph Barksdale of Detroit Cass Tech High School has been similar to wondering where a hurricane will make its official landfall as it barrels over the open waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

In Barksdale's case, however, the final destination of where he will end up attending school at is among places like Notre Dame, Ohio State, Tennessee, USC, LSU, Michigan, Miami and Texas. Check that...recent models have shown the path to be veering away from Austin, once thought to be the place Hurricane Joseph would touch ground.

But at one moment occuring in the eye of this unpredictable storm, Barksdale received his much-coveted invitation to play in the U.S. Army All-American game in San Antonio on Jan. 6, 2007. And Barksdale was elated about the invite.

"That must be how people feel when they make it to the Pro Bowl," Barksdale said. "It's a pretty big honor. I was really excited about it. I've been dreaming about playing in that game since I went to the combine last year. So that's really what I've been working for."

In a ceremony at his school last week, Barksdale proudly donned a number 07 Army jersey that was presented to him by Army personnel and Eddie Drummond of the NFL's Detroit Lions.

"We had a big pep rally at school and then we did the whole press conference deal so it was really nice," Barksdale said. "I'm really grateful to the Army and Scout and everyone else for coming out to support me and helping to make that day special."

Barksdale said that he didn't initially attend the All-American Combine in San Antonio last January with the idea of playing in the All-American Bowl this season.

"That wasn't the case when I first went down there," he claimed. "But after I went there and saw the game, I was inspired to perform during the combine because I was trying to make it back."

And now his one-time inspiration has come to fruition. It's all a part of the whirlwind recruiting process that will come to an end when Barksdale announces to the entire nation which school he will attend during the U.S. Army All-American game this coming year.

"I never really imagined (the recruiting process) being like this," Barksdale said. "But it's all pretty good because not only do I have an opportunity to go places and do some things, but I also have an opportunity to give my teammates some exposure. When coaches come to see me, I feel that I'm also helping out my team by getting looked at by various coaches and stuff like that.

"And I'm really grateful for it. It's an opportunity to not only help myself but I also look at it as an opportunity to help my teammates as well because I wouldn't be where I am today without them."

The entire process has been an exciting time for Barksdale regardless of where he chooses to go to school at in the end.

"I'm glad that I was fortunate enough to get to see a lot of exciting football games," said Barksdale when he was asked to talk about some of the highlights of his recruitment thus far. "I've had a chance to see some really exciting games and I've met a lot of famous people along the way, from Ted Ginn (Sr.) to Jerome Bettis, and a lot of people who have given me advice about stuff that I can actually think about when I'm making my decision to go to college. And I've also learned a lot of different techniques from all of the camps that I've been to that are definitely helping me now during the season."

Although he has officially visited Notre Dame already on Sept. 16 and has set tentative dates for official visits with LSU (Nov. 11 vs. Alabama) and USC (Nov. 25 vs. Notre Dame), Barksdale says he's not ready yet to announce any official top five.

"I'm approaching my top five and once I get the top five I'll be able to visit those places and assess those places," Barksdale said. "And once I'm done assessing those places then I'll be able to make a decision. It's a little bit more fast-paced now than I was expecting it to be because now I'm graduating early. But I've kind of gotten it organized."

So he's really in no hurry to do anything with regards to the recruiting process at this time.

"I'm really kind of taking it slow right now," Barksdale said. "I'm not going to say that I've come to a halt right now but I'm just enjoying it. I'm going to colleges and checking out games and just enjoying the process like you're suppose to. Of course I'm looking at schools and evaluating them but you still go to have some fun with it too."

As far as Ohio State is concerned, Barksdale, who plans on unofficially attending the OSU-MSU game in East Lansing on Oct. 14, mentioned that he keeps tabs on the Buckeyes in general and Vernon Gholston in particular.

"Vernon is doing great. He's looking real good. He's looking like he did on the high school level," said Barksdale about his former Cass Tech teammate. "I think they've (OSU) done a great job with Vernon and he can do nothing but get better."

He's not at all surprised that Gholston, who Barksdale said he talks to once a week, has been dominating at times this season.

"I'm not surprised at all. We all knew Vernon had it in him and it was just a matter of time before he arrived," said Barksdale whose current team at Cass Tech has a 3-3 record. "And he has arrived."

Barksdale, who plays both ways at tackle this season in high school, enjoyed watching Gholston and the defense play against Penn State in Ohio Stadium.

"It was a good game. Ohio State's defense definitely shined in that game scoring 14 points," he said. "I really liked watching the game. It showed the strength of Ohio State's defense. And one interesting fact was that a lot of the play makers I saw on defense on the jumbotron were all sophomores. All sophomores and a couple of seniors. So the defense is really young which means it's only going to get better."

And how does that translate with Barksdale who is regarded by many as being one of the nation's top defensive tackles?

"It's definitely something to look at," said Barksdale who certainly knows that Quinn Pitcock and David Patterson are in their senior seasons. "If you can walk into a defense like that and have a chance at starting or at least getting a whole lot of clock, it's definitely a factor."

Ohio State has always seemed to be somewhere near the top for Barksdale no matter who he's listed at the top in the past.

"Yeah Ohio State will be in the top five. They're already in it," said Barksdale who has told previously that the Buckeyes are likely to be his last official visit. "Ohio State will definitely be near the top."

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