Catching up with Tig Barksdale

Mississippi's Mr. Football for the Class of '08 has been focused on one thing and one thing only since graduating from South Panola in May.

"I have been working hard on my grades," added Darius Barksdale. "I spent the summer down in Jackson trying to get my grades straight. I was pretty behind but I am catching up. In September, I came over here to Hargrave to try and finish things up. I have a couple of A's, couple of B's and a few C's. I should be out of here in May."

Darius, who goes by "Tig", has had a good experience while at Hargave.

"It has been good. I have been doing what I am suppose to do, and that is basically it. Do not get me wrong, I wish I were not here because I took care of my academics coming out of high school, but I didn't, and now I am trying to correct my mistakes."

Barksdale has another Mississippian with him at Hargrave.

"Me and Marlon Walls (Tenn commit) started hanging out back when we met each other for the mini-camp (at the MS/AL All-Star game). We just clicked and started hanging out ever since. He lives right up the highway from me (in Olive Branch), so we have a lot in common. LB Antonio Harper (Miami commit) from Memphis is also over here. We all hang out a lot."

Hargrave has taught Tig a few life lessons.

"I have learned a lot of stuff, a whole lot, but the main thing I will take away from here is being more respectful to others."

Academically, there was a transition but one that Darius is trying to adjust to.

"They just teach you to be more responsible over here. You have to be on time and you have to have better study habbits. You just have to stay on top of your books or you are gone."

The head coach at Hargrave has seen some academic improvement from Mississippi's 5A single season (2, 908 yards) rushing champ but would like to see even more improvement.

"Tig has been working hard over there," added Coach Robert Prunty. "But I would like to see him work a little harder with his academics, but as far as football goes, he is as good as there is around here. There is no denying his skills."

Darius, who never lost a game in his high school career while starring at both safety and running back, was relagated to safety this past season.

"I just played defensive back this year. I wish I could have played some tailback, but I was not disappointed or anything like that. I was just trying to do my best, but yea, I would have liked to play a little tailback."

"Tig has great leverage and vision," stated Coach Prunty ."He could be just as good of a running back as he is at safety He could be great at either position. That is what kind of athlete he is. Personally, he reminds me of Lawrence Tillman, just a strong and physical safety. The boy will decleat you now. There are not many around who hit like Tig."

"I did alright at safety," added the always soft spoken Barksdale. "I improved a lot with breaking down my guy and making the tackle. They do not tell us our stats around here, but I know I knocked out a few guys (laugh). I do remember those."

The step up in competition was a welcome change.

"There are a lot more challenges over here. There were some good players in high school, but not as many as there are over here. That made it a lot more fun for me. I like playing against the best."

Tig stated that he is not hearing from any colleges, but there are a few that he would like to hear from.

"I hope to hear from Miami, Ole Miss, FSU, and Georgia."

Why Miami?

"I just like their program and football team. If you are a freshman, they will play you as long as you are doing what you are suppose to be doing. I also like their colors and just their school in general. They have always produced a lot of great safeties."

Ole Miss?

"I made some mistakes last year, and probably the biggest one I made was not signing with them. I feel bad about what I did. I do not know why I didn't sign. I had a lot of growing up to do, and hopefully they know that I am trying to do better this time (around)."

Has Tig had a chance to relay this message to Ole Miss?

"No, we have not talked yet, but I did see them over here at one of our practices."

Who else has been by Hargrave to scout Tig?

"Miami and FSU, just them three. That is all I know about."

What stands out about FSU?

"I just like them, and like Miami, they play their freshman as long as you are doing what you are suppose to do."

And Georgia?

"They are a powerhouse. They have a good team. I like North Carolina too. North Carolina is on the rise. They are doing good this year."

Coach Prunty states that the interest is heavy for his star defensive back.

"All of the SEC schools are showing interest. He has not taken any visits yet. We will get to that after our game Thursday."

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