EXCLUSIVE: Anthony Barr talks about his decision

Loyola running back/linebacker/??? Anthony Barr was away for the week but we had a chance to talk tonight, and, well, he’s a great kid. Very focused, very driven, very certain that UCLA is his best chance to make it as a football player.

He is still unsure of his eventual position at UCLA (hence the ???) but I could see him being a superb safety or linebacker, if the Bruins put him on the defensive side of the ball. At 6-foot-4, 225 pounds, he has the frame to add plenty of weight and muscle and though he suffered a broken leg in his senior season, he expects to make an impact quickly.

Here is his Scout.com profile – Barr – and check out the interview after the jump.

Inside UCLA: Why UCLA? What put them over the top?Anthony Barr: “I just feel like that’s the school that’s going to best fit me and best suit me hopefully for an NFL career – and for a career past football. I’m real comfortable with the coaches. Coach Chow staying was a huge impact in my decision – it’s saying something that they’re going somewhere. He could’ve jumped ship and left. That stood out to me; that was a big reason. I just found that comfort. There was a lot of questions about how I would fit into (Notre Dame Coach Brian) Kelly’s system, and I was just very comfortable with the coaches here.”

JG: I know you met with Coach Neuheisel to discuss your college position, how did that work out?
AB: “We’re going to sort of wait until everyone is signed and maybe spring to sort of make that position a final. As for now, it’s still sort of trying out where I’m going to fit. I always want to be on the field. I just want to be where ever I can be on the field – not only the fastest, but where I can maximize my potential.”

JG: How important is it for UCLA to land not just big-time recruits in positions of need, but athletes such as yourself?
AB: “It’s a compliment to know that I can fill any role that the school is going to put me in. I feel like they sort of spearheaded the way for me. A lot of guys are going to want to play on what I think is going to be a great team.”

JG: As a local kid, you see what’s going on over at USC – has the time come for the Bruins to challenge in Los Angeles?
AB: “That’s what we’re trying to do. USC has been great, stable for so long. But I think it’s time for a change. All the guys who are coming in feel like we can make that difference.”

JG: How is your leg rehab going?AB: “I feel a lot better. Rehab and everything is going real well. If I just stick with that and get stronger and work out, I think I could see myself playing next year.”

JG: Are you participating in track and field for Loyola?AB: “No, I don’t think I’ll be able to.”

JG: Do you see UCLA landing more major recruits as the recruiting period comes to a close? How good of a recruiter is Coach Neuheisel?
AB: “Yeah, definitely. We have a good chance at landing a lot of these guys, some big names at the wire. Part of the reason is we can relate to him. He understands what kids think and what we want. I definitely see us landing some big-time names before signing day is over.”

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  • Bruinswin!

    Great stuff Jon.

    What a terrific kid. Just wants to get on the field in whatever position he can succeed in. Love that mentality…and that fact that he is thinking about what he can do after football, whenever in his life that comes up.

    Welcome to Westwood Anthony…can’t wait to see you in the Rose Bowl

  • Anonymous

    “Coach Chow staying was a huge impact in my decision – it’s saying something that they’re going somewhere. He could’ve jumped ship and left. That stood out to me; that was a big reason.”

    Thanks for the help, SUC!

  • http://insidesocal.com/ucla/2010/01/exclusive-anthony-barr-talks-a.html#comments anon

    How come you always refer to scout and not rivals? Dohn used both.

  • bibs

    Jon,
    You’re doing a great job and really growing on the job.Hey anon,you want both go read them yourself!

  • Anonymous

    yo gold you know of any visitors this weekend?

  • UndieRun03

    Sounds like a great person, and a beast of a football player. Cant wait to see him on the field. Good luck w/ the rehab and staying healthy Barr. Great interview Jon, keep up the good work.

  • Sid

    The best part: when referring to the UCLA football team, he says “We”, not “They”.

  • Coach Thom

    Love this kid. Great athlete. Great attitude. Serious about his future post-football life. These are the stellar players that Coach Rick is going to continue to bring in. Welcome home, Anthony.

  • Bruintx

    If he is looking for maximum field time — then welcome to the defense Anthony. At his height, that sounds like where he belongs anyway. I’m judt glad he is open to playing where he can be best utilized and doesnt have tunnel vision on being a RB.

  • Johnny Angel

    The good news in recruiting just keeps on coming!