For Lafayette senior Mitch Barrick, being part of something special — whether athletically or academically — was his top priority when deciding where to attend college.
After spending time on the campus of Hampden-Sydney College, a Division III liberal arts college for men, earlier in December, Barrick felt he could contribute to a special school and football program.
That’s why Barrick verbally committed to play football for Hampden-Sydney College earlier this week.
An All-Conference offensive lineman for Lafayette who projects as a center for Hampden-Sydney, Barrick had aspirations of continuing his playing career at the next level. However, as an aspiring lawyer, he refused to sacrifice academics for athletics.
It was the blend of academics and athletics that drew Barrick to Hampden-Sydney. Particularly, Barrick was fond of Hampden-Sydney’s Rhetoric Program, which helps students gain a firm grasp on argumentative and analytical writing.
Additionally, Barrick said he “felt at home” on the campus of Hampden-Sydney, nestled in the heart of Central Virginia.
“I really liked being at an all-guys school and the sense of brotherhood that came with it,” he said. “I just really liked the feeling of knowing each other. It felt like a close-knit group.”
That feeling of brotherhood extended to the football side of things after meeting with his future teammates and coaches.
Seeing the tradition around Hampden-Sydney’s football team and its recent success — the Tigers have made the NCAA Division III playoffs five of the last seven years — was enough for Barrick to want to join the program.
Before Barrick left campus after his official visit, Hampden-Sydney Defensive Line Coach Penn Stephenson told Barrick he could foresee him fitting in well at the school, especially given the team’s need for offensive linemen in the 2016 recruiting class.
Looking back on that moment, Barrick said Stephenson’s prediction was pretty accurate.
“I would say that’s pretty spot on, because I felt at home,” he joked.