Author’s Note: This article was first published on NFL Draft Bible on Sports Illustrated. You can find that article here.
It was a game that Jose Barbon only set out to play for fun as a little kid. But after a little encouragement and hard work, the Pennsylvania native turned a side hobby into a potential professional career in the NFL.
As Barbon prepares for the draft, he’s had an extensive history at Temple, setting career-high records and gaining nominations along the way. After redshirting Barbon’s freshman year at Temple, he started to get more playing time and showed the team what he could do as an offensive weapon.
By his sophomore year and beyond, he started to get recognized for his performance. He’s been named to the American Athletic Conference All-Academic Team, All-AAC Honorable Mention and Fourth Team All-AAC. He also broke a record for Temple’s leading returning receiver.
“When I really started to play was 2021,” Barbon said. “This past year is when things flew off the roof,”
Now, Barbon looks to the future as the next few months are physically and mentally strenuous and rewarding. Barbon looks to support to make sure he’s ready for the call and able to execute right away.
“Physically, I’ve been asking guys on my team who’ve been where I’m at [for guidance],” Barbon said. This coincides with his mental preparation, too.
Taking that support and hard work transitions well to what stands him out to prospective teams.
“My hard work once I get on the field or hit the weight room,” Barbon said, on what makes him different. “I’m also trying to be the best on and off the field,”
Barbon prides himself on this dog mentality, something he would say could help other younger players succeed in getting to this position. He attributes his own journey when talking about how other players should not give up.
Because of this advice, Barbon is excited to see what’s in store for him, like some of his fellow brothers in the NFL.
“It feels great to see them doing good, that means for me I can do good no matter where I’m at,” Barbon said.
His advice for others is simple.
“Don’t quit when things don’t go your way,” he said. “Your shot only comes once.”
Check out the full Jose Barbon interview on the First & Jenn podcast.
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