• 37°

Catawba Football: Barksdale a solid frosh for Indians

By Ryan Bisesi
rbisesi@salisburypost.com
SALISBURY — C.J. Barksdale is not “fresh meat” by any stretch of the imagination.
The moniker usually given to freshman entering college doesn’t apply to Barksdale, a state champion wrestler from Hillcrest High in Simpsonville, S.C.
Barksdale had a tackle for loss, forced a fumble and recovered two fumbles in Saturday’s loss to FCS opponent Coastal Carolina. He didn’t foresee himself making an impact this early, but some of the coaching staff saw his potential before the season began.
“In all our preseason talks, we talked about the fact we needed one of our freshman defensive linemen to step up,” Catawba coach Chip Hester said. “He has done that big-time.”
Barksdale has upperclassmen size at 6-foot-2, 250 pounds that coaches love to see early on. After wrestling ended, he weighed 235 before bulking up during the summer.
“He’s just a shade over 250 pounds, but it’s the right 250 pounds,” Hester said. “That guy has very little body fat.”
Barksdale didn’t expect to start right off the bat, but his Division I measurements and hard work in camp made that a viable possibility.
“I was just going to try my hardest to get on the field,” Barksdale said. “It worked out pretty good.”
After being an all-region defensive lineman/linebacker at Hillcrest, he’s come on to be an early factor in Catawba’s run defense. The Indians lead Division II in rushing defense after two games, allowing negative 5.5 yards per contest.The Indians allowed minus 24 yards rushing against St. Augustine’s in Week 1 and let Coastal Carolina run for a school-low 13 yards.
The two fumbles he recovered on Saturday gave Barksdale the team lead.
Barksdale was a grappler at the heavyweight class, helping Hillcrest to the 4A championship last year.
“Wrestling made me a better football player,” Barksdale said.
The defensive tackle has accordingly dealt with the first-year learning curve of the college game at the physical and mental level.
“Size,” remarked Barksdale of the differences between the high school and college game. “They got bigger, they got faster, the tempo came up.”
Barksdale has one tackle for loss heading into Saturday’s showdown with SAC foe Newberry. It’s the first home game for the Indians with both teams looking to avoid an 0-3 start.
“We played pretty good Saturday, but we’ve got to put more pressure on the quarterback,” said Barksdale, who hopes to attain double-digit sacks and tackles for loss in his first year.
“Physically and mentally he’s very mature,” Hester said. “If he’ll continue to progress, he’ll be one of those that we talk about for a long time.”

Comments

Comments closed.

Crime

Police: Granite Quarry, Salisbury robberies may be connected

BREAKING NEWS

Knox Middle School closes for one day following teacher’s death

Local

County administers 800 COVID-19 vaccines as those 65 and older become eligible

Nation/World

Biden sworn in as America’s 46th president

Nation/World

Vice President Harris: A new chapter opens in US politics

Coronavirus

COVID-19 deaths outside of congregate living facilities represent growing majority in Rowan

Local

93-year-old man beaten, hospitalized after overnight attack

News

Shot in Salisbury, ‘Goodbye, Butterfly’ debuts on digital platforms

Education

KCS students staying all virtual through Feb. 15

Local

County commissioners table animal carcass ordinance until February

Local

Accommodating cyclists among concerns for Downtown Main Street Plan

Local

City approves wish list of 2021 projects, priorities

News

Justice Department won’t charge Sen. Burr over stock sales

Coronavirus

Health Department schedules first vaccination event for those 65 and older

Crime

Texas man robbed at knifepoint during stop in Rowan County

Crime

Guns stolen from apartment on Lakewood Drive

Crime

Man robs convenience store with handgun, receives $150

Local

Human Relations Council starts day of service, adopts park as part of MLK celebration

Local

Hickory volunteers donate backpacks filled with essential items, sleeping mats to Salisbury VA

Local

City to hear priorities for 2021 Federal Action Plan, approve use of $200,000 HUD grant

Crime

Blotter: Woman faces drug, child abuse charges

Coronavirus

County averaging 118 new COVID-19 cases per day in 2021

News

Political Notebook: Rep. Sasser to chair NC House Health committee in second term

Ask Us

Ask Us: COVID-19 vaccination events have required adaptations, brought frustration