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All-American wide receiver Barden staying at Cal Poly
Mustangs junior wide receiver says he will return for senior year and could run for the track team
Ramses Barden (11) will play along side Tredale Tolver (1) and the rest of Cal Poly’s receiving corps next season.Cal Poly wide receiver Ramses Barden will return for his senior season after considering whether to enter the NFL Draft.
And the Walter Payton Award finalist might be wearing green and gold sooner than some would think.
Barden filed paperwork with the NFL advisory committee and was projected as a fifth-round draft pick, but the junior told The Tribune on Sunday he wants to finish out his college football career and is considering running track this spring in hopes of improving his speed.
“I’m excited about it,” Barden said of his return to a football team that returns 10 offensive starters. “We have a lot of talent coming back and it will be fun to be a part of that.”
Barden was second among Football Championship Subdivision players in receiving yards per game (133.4), catching 57 balls for 1,467 yards and 18 touchdowns this past season.
The Altadena native holds Cal Poly season records for receiving yards, touchdowns (18), points (108) and 100-yard games (seven), and career touchdowns (32).
The 6-foot-6, 228-pounder had until Tuesday to declare for the draft, which takes place in April.
“With a decision as big as this, you never weigh it on one particular issue,” he said. “College is a place you go to learn these types of lessons. It’s where you find things out about yourself, and I’d like to enjoy the experience a little bit longer. College is a one time thing, and provided I stay healthy and productive for another year, I shouldn’t lose steam for the next level.”
Barden said he is considering running on the Cal Poly men’s track and field team, possibly in the 100 meters.
One of the concerns that faced Barden this off-season, along with playing Championship Subdivision/Division I-AA competition, was his 40-yard dash time. Barden hadn’t run an official 40 in some time, although he showcased plenty of speed throughout the season in averaging 25.7-yards per reception.
“Running track is something I’ve thought about,” Barden said. “It’s something I’ll have to talk about with my coaches and see if I feel I’m ready to compete.”
Cal Poly head coach Rich Ellerson last week said Barden would benefit from another year of college.
“That way he can graduate in the fall or winter and have a little bit more of a leisure finish to his academic year and get right to a mini camp,” Ellerson said. “He can graduate, have a degree in his back pocket, and for a lot of reasons it makes sense.
“That’s obviously what I think, but I think he’s done a great job of getting his parents’ input and making sure he’s not getting talked into anything by anyone.”
Barden said he’s already looking forward to the 2008 season and showing improvement in his game.
He’ll be able to showcase his talents against two of the Mustangs’ toughest opponents in Weeks 1 and 2 as they travel to Bowl Subdivision/ Division I-A San Diego State on Aug. 30 before hosting perennial Championship Subdivision/I-AA power Montana on Sept. 6 at Alex G. Spanos Stadium.
“Our team goals take priority, but one of my (individual) goals is to show a little bit more of a variety in my game,” Barden said. “I know what I can do and what I have done. I want to show off as much of that talent as I can, personally. … Production isn’t a big issue with me. I feel that I’m going to be able to be a part of a solid offense that will be recognized and enjoy the same success as last year. But I want to be able to portray all of the improvements in my game and help our team achieve all of our season goals.”
By Brian Milne, TRIBUNE