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November 15, 2012Mere days after Mick Cronin signed point guard Kevin Johnson (Summit Country Day), Johnson's teammate Antonio Woods Jr. and Michael Barwick will visit UC.
Woods is a dual-threat QB, who also excels as point guard of the State Champion basketball team.
Barwick is a literal and metaphorical Big Fish in the Class of 2014, named the Division V Southwest District Defenssive Player of the Year by the AP on Monday.
"We had planned on going back to West Virgina, but he will visit Cincinnati," said Mike Barwick Sr. "We are planning on also going to Ohio State for 24th for Ohio State/Michigan."
Michael Barwick tallied 75.0 tackles, 5.0 fumble recoveries, and 6.0 sacks this season. Escorting Summit Country Day into the playoffs for the first time in team history must rank as one of his greatest athletic accomplishments to date.
Where will this talented lineman shine on the next stage?
"He has a lot of interest," said Barwick Sr. "The only offer is Western Michigan. Interest is heavy all through the Big 10, Big 12 (West Virginia). A little interest from Oklahoma."
Amongst the recruiting factions invested in Michael Barwick a few are standing out early.
"They have been a few coaches that have been very sincere in my opinion," said Barwick Sr. "Louisville, Indiana, and Cincinnati have all been very straightforward as far as their interest and how he would fit into their program. Playing time. All of them are saying that most likely he could play as a freshman right away."
By hosting Barwick and his teammates Saturday the Bearcat staff gets a second opportunity to sell their program. If Coach Butch Jones has his way the game will sellout and provide an exceptional showcase of the current energy surrounding the Bearcats.
The push for lineman to enroll early has never been stronger at University of Cincinnati. If Barwick and other freshmen aspire to start early in their careers they must begin the physical maturation process early and assimilate swiftly.
Former DL signee Eric Lefeld, OL Parker Ehinger, and DL Camaron Beard found starting roles quite early in their college careers.
Despite their youth Lefeld and Ehinger serve as stoic sentinels on opposing ends of the UC offensive line, while Beard stuffs the run at defensive tackle.
Beard's 4.5 tackles for loss (TFL) are tied for the highest amongst non-Walter Stewart players.
Coach Jones has been giving the hard sell all week in an effort to lure the homebodies into screaming supporters.
Wild, evening crowds have done well to cast UC football in a positive light for national television audiences, but afternoon games lag in fervor this year.
"Again these last three games are playoff games," said Coach Jones. "That's why we need everyone's support. Come out at noon. Not just at the game, but at the Catwalk. Be there. I think our players have earned the right to play in front of a solid out stadium. What more could you want for? It's gon' be a great day against a great, great team and a great challenge."
It is no coincidence that the atmosphere generated goes a long way into convincing recruits UC is a strong college choice.
"We are looking for experience, how he fits into the program," said Barwick Sr. "He is watching the position he plays and what playing time may be available. Education is definitely big. He wants to be a business major."
Barwick and his family have also watched college games at Ohio State, Indiana, Michigan, West Virginia, and Cincinnati prior to this weekend.
More than watching to see a home win Barwick is interested in how he would fit into the college.
"Just basically want to see how he fits in with the coaches, staff," said Barwick Sr. "We are looking at how many seniors they have on the team, guys they may be recruiting. Looking at open positions."
A quick glance at Cincinnati's defensive line depth chart reveals a lot of outgoing seniors and established juniors followed by talented players still molding their college bodies.
Next season will feature a Bearcat squad without Walter Stewart, Dan Giordano, John Williams, and Brandon Mills. It will be the final year of eligibility for Jordan Stepp, Mitch Meador, and Elijah Shuler.
Only Beard and Silverberry Mouhon have seen significant playing time amongst the underclassmen.
Playing time will be available in the near and distant future.
The schools (Indiana, Louisville, Cincinnati) that are pushing playing time are all nearby while Barwick will attempt to expand his exposure this offseason to the entire nation.
"Being that Michael comes from a small school kind of hurts him a little bit," said Barwick Sr. "There were a few kids that he played with growing up that were 4-5 star athletes. They were all good and you couldn't tell the difference. He just has to prove he can belong on that stage."
The first grand opportunity for Barwick will be the US All-American Army Combine.
"He has that marked on the calendar," said Barwick Sr. "If he goes there and does well we feel all the offers will start rolling in at that point."