Nick Camacho

Ramses Barden has made the most of his football career. The 6-foot-6 junior wide receiver made the leap from basketball to football in his sophomore year of high school and has not looked back.

He has built a solid foundation for himself between the white lines with what he called his “jump-up-and go-get-it kind of style.”

Head coach Rich Ellerson said that Barden is a gifted athlete who has continued to evolve this season.

“He’s one of those guys that forces a defense or opponent to lean. They’ve got to unbalance themselves to have a chance at him and that creates opportunities for the rest of your football team,” Ellerson said. “He’s still a force.”

Most recently, Barden and quarterback Jonathan Dally earned Co-Player of the Week honors for the top passing performance in Great West history, in which Barden turned in his best receiving performance so far this season in Cal Poly’s 48-28 victory at Idaho State.

During the game, Barden set career highs when he caught 10 passes for 268 yards. He caught three touchdown passes covering 25, 85 and 79 yards from Dally and broke school records for touchdown catches in a season (15) and career (29).

Barden’s catch total is No. 10 all-time at Cal Poly (5-3, 1-1) and his yardage total is No. 3. He has 129 career catches (No. 5) for 2,728 yards (No. 2) and 29 touchdowns (No. 1). He is in his third consecutive 40-catch season, with 47 catches this year.

He also tied the school record with six 100-yard receiving games this season and has 11 for his career.

Barden was named to the Walter Payton Award watch list Oct. 16. He is the second Mustang to make the list, following running back James Noble in 2006.

He is one of 16 players on the list for the award, which honors the top offensive player in the Football Championship Subdivision. The winner will be announced Dec. 13.

Despite all of Barden’s accomplishments on the field, he said that a highlight for him is playing with a team that he loves and that works hard together.

“It’s not fair that one person receives the glory and attention that he only gains through the hard work of his teammates. It’s the entire effort that achieves every aspect of the success,” Barden said.

One challenge Barden has dealt with this season is the temptation to focus on the future instead of remaining in the present.

“It’s really a challenge to stay focused on the next play, the next match, the next day,” Barden said. “When you look too far in the future, you overlook the important things that help you meet the goals you have set for yourself.”

Barden takes his academics seriously, too. The business administration major juggles football practices with classes but said that growing up in a family that took academics seriously has helped him be successful.

“It’s part of my regimen to get the studying and homework done,” Barden said. “I have to take the academic part seriously and the athletic part is fun. If you have a foundation that respects the academic process, it’s a little bit easier to do both.”

During the remainder of the season, Barden said he plans to continue as a leader on the field and to fulfill whatever role the team has for him.

“I hope that me being here and playing this sport has prepared me for more than what happens on the field,” Barden said. “I hope that the camaraderie we build and the skills that we learn provide some life lessons that extend further than the white lines and allow me to be successful years beyond the game.”

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *