Can't Knock This Prospect for Leaving School Early to Enter NFL Draft

Can't Knock This Prospect for Leaving School Early to Enter NFL Draft

Auburn's Peyton Barber has a damn good reason.

Published February 25, 2016

College athletes often get criticized for leaving school too early and declaring themselves eligible for the draft, whether it's the NBA's or NFL's.

But nobody should have anything to say about Auburn running back Peyton Barber opting to go pro.

The redshirt sophomore isn't throwing his name in the 2016 NFL Draft class out of just desire. He's doing it out of necessity revolving around a trying family situation. 

"My mother is homeless right now," Barber opened up to reporters at the NFL Combine on Wednesday, as reported by ESPN. "Right now, she's staying with my sister. It's her and her three kids staying in an apartment back home."

Barber saw forgoing his two years of college eligibility in pursuit of an NFL paycheck as his only choice, adding that his mom didn't push him towards the decision, either.  

"She never pressured me to do anything," he added. "I just decided to do what's best for me and my family."

Barber's mom couldn't be more appreciative for her caring son.

"It touches my heart that he feels so deeply about wanting to take care of me," Lori Barber told "Peyton is very quiet. I had no idea he was feeling that strongly as he was feeling until he decided to come out [for the draft]."

She added: "Homelessness is a strong definition. Do I have a home of my own? I do not. Do I have a bed of my own? I don't. Where we're living is a little crowded, but we're making it work. We're taking our 50 cents and stretching it out to make it a dollar."

Peyton remains optimistic about his mom's tough ordeal.

"This isn't her first [struggle]," he said about his mom. "It's nothing new. It's just a little bump in the road for us. We'll overcome it."

His mom is currently living with her 27-year-old daughter (Peyton's sister) and three grandchildren in a tiny apartment in Georgia.

While there's some stiff competition amongst prospective running backs in the 2016 draft class, Barber certainly has skills, as evidenced by his 1,017 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns last season for Auburn.

Now, it's about one NFL team giving him a chance. With it, he could change the fortunes of his family.

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(Photo: AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

Written by Mark Lelinwalla


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