Late start doesn’t hurt Lakewood DE Todd Barr

LAKEWOOD, CALIF. (AP) —Lakewood High School football coach Thadd MacNeal pulled Todd Barr aside when he was a freshman and told him that football would take him places.

Barr, more interested in basketball at the time, took MacNeal up on it and threw himself into football, and emerged as one of the nation’s top recruits at strongside defensive end. He’s had bona fide offers from at least 23 Division I schools.

“I’ve been around long enough that you know when some guys have something,” MacNeal told The Associated Press.

Last season Barr, who stands at 6-foot-3 and weighs 265 pounds, had 80 tackles and 9.5 sacks for the Lancers. He forced three fumbles and deflected three passes.

The Moore League champion Lancers went 11-2 overall last season before losing to Edison in a CIF-SS Pac-5 Division semifinal.

Known for his kick off the line, Barr will likely have to add bulk to play in college at defensive tackle. He is praised for his ability to read blocks and get to the ball.

Barr is also a fine student with a 3.75 GPA. His smarts translate to the football field, where he is praised for his savvy.

“He’s got great athletic ability, and the quickness - those first two steps when he comes off the ball,” MacNeal said. “And to top it all off he’s smart.”

Barr has been heavily recruited in the Pac-10, with California, UCLA and Oregon apparently the front-runners. Florida and Miami are also on his list. Because of an emphasis on academics, Cal has been considered his favorite

Coach MacNeal caused a stir by wearing an Oregon hat when Barr was working out at an EA Sports Elite event this summer, but both MacNeal and Barr said it was not on purpose.

Updated Monday, Aug 30, 2010