The Wolverine

June July 2018

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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58 THE WOLVERINE JUNE/JULY 2018   COMMITMENT PROFILE P aw Paw (Mich.) High three-star offensive tackle Karsen Barnhart started feeling the love from Michi- gan immediately when he was of- fered in late January and started pic- turing himself in the winged helmet. He visited Ann Arbor a few times and was ready to commit to the Wol- verines April 20. Everything was in place for the 6-5, 280-pounder to pick U-M, but at the last minute he got cold feet. "I'm not committing to Michigan this Friday," he said. "I am going to keep the recruiting process going, but Michigan is still a school I'm interested in. I'm just not ready to make a commitment." Just a little more time passed and the No. 13 player in Michigan finally realized that he was just delaying the inevitable. The rising senior commit- ted to Michigan April 30 and had no reservations about it. "It just still feels right," he said. "I was just ready to commit and be a part of the Michigan family. That's where I feel is the best place for me. "I really felt the best vibe and the most love from the players and the coaches. I felt it more at Michigan than at any other school." Paw Paw head coach Matt Stephen and Barnhart had discussed his re- cruiting process often, and it just seemed like a matter of time before Barnhart joined U-M's 2019 class. "When I spoke to him directly over the course of the past month he was leaning towards Michigan and fi- nally called me up and let me know that he was going to commit there," Stephens explained. "I asked him why, and he just said that it felt like home. He felt like it was the place he was supposed to be, and he got more and more comfortable over time. "Going to school and playing foot- ball at Michigan is something that kids in our state dream about." The decision came quite easy for Barnhart because of a relationship he built with a coach that wasn't even at U-M when the courtship started. New Michigan offensive line coach Ed Warinner started chasing Barn- hart when he was coaching at one of Michigan's rival schools, and that ul- timately led to Barnhart feeling very comfortable with the Wolverines. "Coach Warinner and I have a great relationship," Barnhart said. "We've been building that all the way back since he was at Minnesota. It's al- ready been good, and it's just going to get stronger from here on out." With a commitment out of the way, Barnhart can now enjoy his summer as a future Wolverine, and then focus on getting better and winning a lot of games as a senior at Paw Paw.'s No. 44 offensive tackle in the country hopes to im- prove his overall skill and would like to be ready to compete for playing time once he gets to Ann Arbor. "My plan is pretty simple," he said. "I just plan to stay committed to Michigan, and I want to work on my craft. I just want to get up there as much as I can. Official or not official visit — it doesn't really matter to me. I just want to be around the program as much as possible. "As for the rest of my recruitment, I'm shutting it down. I'm committed and that's it." Barnhart, who will be a four-year starter when he takes the field next season, has had a great career already at Paw Paw. As a sophomore, he was second team all-conference as an of- fensive lineman. This past season, he received first team status on the defensive line and was named to the second team as a tight end — he was second on the team in receiving yards with one touchdown reception. He was also named to the Associated Press 2017 Division 3-4 All-State second team as a lineman. — Brandon Brown U-M Lands In-State Lineman Karsen Barnhart With Pleasant Persistence FILM EVALUATION Strengths: At 6-5, 280 pounds, K arsen Barnhar t has incredible athleticism. He started off his high school career as a guard, but played tackle and even tight end last year allowing him to put that athleticism on display. He also has very long arms, big, powerful hands and very quick feet. Areas Of Improvement: Barnhart has a solid build and good size but needs to increase his upper body strength. His high school coach raved about his lower body coor- dination, strength and balance but did say that he expects the upper body strength to come a long way over his senior season and espe- cially once he gets to Ann Arbor. Michigan Player Comparison: Barnhart has a skill set like former Wolverine and recent third round NFL Draft pick Mason Cole. Barn- hart has more tackle-like qualities including the long arms and very quick feet, but overall the two are quite similar. Cole was listed at 6-5, 275 pounds coming out of high school and got up to and over 300 pounds while in Ann Arbor. Barnhart should be able to do the same while maintaining that athleticism and overall length to make him more suited to play the edge than Cole was. — Analysis from rates Barnhart as a three-star recruit, the No. 13 player in Michigan and the No. 44 offensive tackle nationally. PHOTO BY BRANDON BROWN Barnhart "I really felt the best vibe and the most love from the players and the coaches. I felt it more at Michigan than at any other school."

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