Fresh off a state title with Jacksonville (Fla.) Trinity Christian Academy, Austin Barber received his dream offer from the Florida Gators. In a rare but refreshing turn of events, the 6-foot-7, 300-pound offensive lineman committed just hours after the offer and inked his Letter of Intent the next day.
Now, with enrollment at the school he grew up a fan of on the horizon, Barber is more excited than ever to be a Gator. In this edition of Getting to Know, we get an in-depth look at the whirlwind process, Barber’s affinity for John Hevesy, and more.
Take us through the process that led to your commitment. What was that experience like for you?
”For a long time, I was talking to Coach Hevesy and Coach [Dan] Mullen. They told me I progressed into a really good offensive lineman and they really started talking to me about the second or third-to-last game of the season. I was a really big Gators fan, and that was my dream offer, so that’s why I took it.”
Which school came in second for you? Why?
”Miami, because it’s still in Florida and I like the staff there. Their offensive line coach is a really good person, but ain’t nothing better than Coach Hevesy.”
What would you say are some of your greatest strengths as a football player?
”Run-blocking is one of my biggest strengths, but my athleticism and my football IQ are strong, too.”
Who is the prospect that you have talked to the most from the Class of 2021?
”Marcus Burke, my high school teammate. He just moved up there, so we’ve been talking a lot about UF and stuff.”
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What would be your first purchase if you got drafted in the first round of the NFL Draft?
”Probably a new car for my mom because she’s worked so hard for me over the years. I would get her a small truck because she loves to fish and be outdoors.”
What is one item that you cannot live without it? Why?
”My phone. I can’t lie.”
Who has been the biggest role model for you in your life? Why?
”My older brother, Zane Cruz. He was the first person on my mom’s side of the family to go to college and he played D1 football at Charleston Southern.”
What are your favorite types of music? Do you have a favorite artist or song?
”Rap and country. I like all kinds of songs and artists in both genres.”
What is your favorite movie?
”The Longest Yard with Adam Sandler.”
If you could meet one person in the world, who would that be?
”Probably Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. He seems like a great person from all the movies, plus he likes to work out and body build.”
If you a chance to go on a dream date, who would it be with?
”I have a girlfriend. So, I would say my girlfriend.”
Where do you see yourself five years from now?
”Hopefully the NFL, but if not, a grad assistant or some kind of football coaching job.”
What are three things on your bucket list?
”Build my first house.”
”Retire my family.”
What is one thing about you that the Gator Nation would be surprised to find out about you?
”It’s probably boring, but I’m the inside gamer guy.”