Mingo was playing basketball and running track at West Monroe when Remedies discovered a player he believed could be a prototypical outside linebacker or defensive end. After watching Mingo compete in the Louisiana State track meet, Remedies, a 20-year coaching veteran, convinced him to give football a chance.
“The thing that stood out the most was his work ethic,” Remedies said. “He just played so, so hard, was just full of energy. He played with that fire. He had that fire, that passion even for track. He was just a fierce, fierce competitor and I thought to myself, ‘Here’s a guy that competes this hard on a basketball court and runs like this guy on a track. You take those two, and that’s a good combination. I think he could be a great defensive end, outside linebacker, a rush guy.’
“I called him into my office one day and said, ‘Look, I was a basketball coach for 20 years. At heart, I’m a basketball coach, but 6-5 post guys like you, you’re a dime a dozen, but 6-4, 6-5 defensive ends, linebackers that can run and do the things I think you can do, those are hard to find. Do this for me. Go out in the springtime and if you don’t like it, just don’t go out in the fall, but at least give it a try.’”
And give it a try, Mingo did.
As Mingo recalled, he was at the State track meet on a Saturday, got sized up for his championship ring Tuesday, and was on the field Wednesday. That Thursday, Mingo played in the team’s spring game, where he tallied 15 tackles when the starter in front of him on the depth chart went down with an injury early in the contest.
During his first year on the football field as a junior, Mingo earned All-State recognition after registering 55 total tackles, six sacks and 12 tackles for loss in 2007.
Then, he went on to become an 5A first-team All-State selection as a senior after he made 59 total tackles with seven sacks, four tackles for lost yards, four forced fumbles and seven recoveries in leading West Monroe to the State Championship game in 2008.
“He tried it, and I’m glad he liked it,” Remedies said. “When you take a guy who’s as athletic as he is and competes like he does, that’s just a great combination, especially with the style we play here. Our coach loves to blitz and bring guys off the edge.”
Mingo took those experiences of rushing the passer to Louisiana State University, where he registered 119 total tackles, 29 tackles for 175 lost yards and 15 sacks for 108 lost yards in 40 career games, including 15 starts, for the Tigers.
“The things that he has done in high school and college in his football career, that doesn’t surprise me one bit, and it’s not going to surprise me what he does when he goes to Cleveland,” Remedies said. “This guy here, not only is he a great football player, but he is a great, great person. I don’t think you can find any harder worker than this guy. He works, works, works, takes care of business. You don’t have to worry about him getting in trouble off the field. He’ll take care of business.”
According to Remedies, who spent the days after the draft planning a trip to Kansas City to see the Browns play the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday, Oct. 27, the town of West Monroe is proud of Mingo.
“You can interview most of the people here in West Monroe and the thing that they would tell you is they’re more impressed with him as a human being, even though he is a great football player,” Remedies said. “He’s just as good a human being as he is a football player. The whole town was watching the draft to see where he would go, and I saw some guys today had Cleveland Browns shirts on. I said, ‘I’ve been a Cowboys fan for years, but I’ve got to get me a Cleveland Browns shirt.’ A lot of people will now focus on what the Cleveland Browns are doing because of Barkevious Mingo.
“I was at the LSU baseball game this weekend, and he and my son came up and were together at the game. They introduced him at the game; brought him out of the dugout in front of home plate, and you should’ve heard the roar they gave him. They gave him a standing ovation. They put 10,000, 11,000 people in the stands, and that was probably the loudest roar in the entire series. LSU’s proud of him; the state of Louisiana is proud of him; we’re very proud of him.”