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Barksdale picks Boston College
Barksdale picks Boston College
By TONY LANGE
Letters, phones calls, emails, texts … getting recruited by Division I colleges can take a toll on young athletes.
Solon's Drew Barksdale wanted to make sure that didn't happen to him, he said.
"It was huge for me," he said about orally committing to play football at Boston College next year, a decision he made on July 30.
"A couple weeks before the decision, I was just trying to think about what I wanted to do," Barksdale said. "I wanted to decide what school I want to go to and get that out of the way by the beginning of football season. So it's a huge weight lifted off my shoulder, and now I can focus on Solon football and winning our state title. After that I can focus more on BC."
The 6-foot, 180-pound senior whom Boston College recruited as a wide receiver also juggled scholarship offers from Ohio University, Akron and Air Force, as well as interests from Ivy League schools, including Yale and Harvard.
"Just the feeling that people notice you, it's very rewarding to know that I was good enough academically to be recruited by schools of that academic nature," said Barksdale, who plans to tap into a business or biology concentration next year.
"What attracted me about BC was definitely the academics of the school, paired with the great Division I football program," he said. "I would say it was a big first for me. The other schools were good, but they didn't intrigue me as much as BC did."
The Eagles are set to play teams like Florida State, Clemson, Notre Dame and Virginia Tech this season, all of which are ranked in the top 25 for the 2012 NCAA preseason.
Another plus to Barksdale's decision was the close proximity of the Eagles' campus to family members, he said.
"I have my grandparents 10 minutes from the school, and my aunt lives about 45 minutes away," he said. "It's good to know that I'll always have support at games and that I can always go and talk to them if I need anything. It's definitely nice to have that."
While Barksdale was recruited as a receiver, he also plays safety and quarterback for the Comets, although throwing the pigskin was a role he picked up last season.
Solon's program is known to play two quarterbacks nearly every game, and, depending on the score, the Comets have even played three or four quarterbacks during games in the past.
Last season, Barksdale was the No. 2 man at quarterback, playing behind recently graduated Patrick Kramer, but it was his first year taking on such a role.
"I've been in the Comets' program since seventh grade, and they try to teach us the same fundamentals that are used all the way up through 12th grade," he said. "So learning all three positions isn't as complicated as it sounds. I've been playing receiver and safety really since I started playing football, so for those two positions I've always had a knack for what to do and where to be."
At quarterback, the Comets also will heavily depend upon junior Brandon Byrd's arm this season, Barksdale said.
With his diversity, Barksdale not only registered eight catches for 126 yards but rushed for 339 yards with five touchdowns and completed 10 of 18 passes for two touchdowns during his junior season.
He was one of 14 Comets receivers with catches last season.
"I would actually say that there's more competition to get playing time as a receiver this season," he said about the Comets' depth. "We graduated four or five seniors that were competing for spots, so now we have open spots, and we have a lot of competition to get those spots."
One of those graduated seniors is Barksdale's older brother, Tres, who will be playing football for Michigan State this fall.
Barksdale said he had been in contact with the Spartans and knew that he wasn't on top of their recruit list, so it wasn't a surprise that they didn't shoot him an offer, he said.
Further complicating Barksdale's decision, however, were his lacrosse talents, for which he also was recruited. The University of Michigan made him an offer for that sport, he said.
"That made the decision harder in terms of what sport I wanted to pursue," Barksdale said. "I'm a very big fan of the sport. I definitely have some unfinished business with my fellow lacrosse players at Solon, so I'm most likely going to play one last season next spring before I focus on just football in college."
For now, the main focus is Solon football, he said.
The Comets kick off their season at 7 p.m. Aug. 24 at home against Shaker Heights.
"The goal at Solon is always to strive to be conference champs, go undefeated in the regular season and to get to the state championship," Barksdale said. "Those are always the major goals."
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