Big man on campus to rookie in the NFL


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The only "safe" pick at #11..He could be a fixture on the line for years..

Big man on campus to rookie in the NFL
By Dale Lolley
Date: Apr 3, 2005

Even at a school the size of Florida State, Alex Barron qualified as the Big Man on Campus.

When you're 6-7, 312 pounds, it's hard not to be.

But in a few weeks, Barron will prove that he's not only been the BMOC at Florida State, he'll likely also be the first offensive lineman selected in the NFL Draft, an honor befitting a two-time All-America performer who has the athletic ability of men half his size.

In fact, the former prep football and basketball star - he played for his father, Alex Barron, Sr. - is so light on his feet he considered walking onto the Florida State basketball team as a freshman before a torn ACL in the Seminoles' first preseason workout that year.

It was a tough way to begin his career at Florida State, but Barron was undaunted and finished his career there as one of the top linemen in school history. Need proof? Barron is one of just seven former Seminoles to have their lockers enclosed in glass for future players to see.

The others are nose guard Ron Simmons (1979-80), cornerback Deion Sanders (1987-88), middle linebacker Marvin Jones (1991-92), linebacker Derrick Brooks (1993-94), kicker Sebastian Janikowski (1998-99) and receiver Peter Warrick (1998-99).

You'll notice that despite the fact the Seminoles have produced such stars as Walter Jones and Tra Thomas, Barron is the first offensive lineman to receive that honor.

He's that good.

"There's pressure on anybody who's being talked about being at the top like that," said Barron of being considered the top lineman available in this year's draft. "It comes with the territory. I'm just trying to chill out and not let anything bother me."

Barron is currently living in his apartment in Tallahassee, lifting weights and staying in shape for whatever team is lucky enough to turn in the ticket with his name on it in New York April 23. As for school, the 22-year-old already owns a degree in Urban Development Studies, having finished that up in the fall.

"School is no joke," said Barron, who figures to be selected in the draft's first 10 to 15 picks. "I really wanted to get that degree."

The fact he has already earned his degree shows Barron has the mental makeup to play in the NFL. But scouts love his athleticism. At Florida State's pro day, Barron had a vertical leap of 38 inches and covered the 40-yard dash in 4.82 seconds. He completed 21 repetitions of 225 pounds on the bench press, but part of the reason he did fewer than many other offensive linemen is the fact he has 38 1/2-inch arms. His total bench press of 395 pounds shows he's more than strong enough to handle the powerful linemen he'll face in the NFL.

"Alex has been one of our more consistent blockers in the years he has started for FSU," coach Bobby Bowden told the Associated Press about Barron. "He has been blessed with phenomenal athletic ability and puts it to good use."

He also has the added experience of having played for a noted character like Bowden, the winningest coach in NCAA Division I-A history.

"Coach Bowden is a really interesting guy," said Barron. "He's very intelligent and you just have to love his image and the great speeches he gives. You can't help but love that. He's a great, great coach."

Barron said several teams showed a lot of interest in him at the NFL's draft combine in Indianapolis, but he has not yet scheduled any personal visits before the draft.

"I talked to a lot of teams, kind of got to know them and let them get to know me," said Barron, who counts among his favorite players Jones, Thomas, Orlando Pace and Bob Whitfield. "I'm sure I'll be visiting a few, but we haven't set anything up yet."

In the meantime, Barron is still enjoying hanging out with his friends at Florida State's campus.

"I'm just here, working out and trying to get ready for what's ahead," he said. "Other than that, I'm just hanging out."

Life is indeed good when you are the BMOC.