Former Auburn Tiger Peyton Barber may not have had the hype other running backs—such as Ezekiel Elliott—had around him going into the 2016 NFL draft, but his backstory certainly had plenty of people rooting for him.
The 22-year-old decided to forgo his final two seasons of college ball to enter the draft. Even though he was coming off a 1,000-yard season, it was a fairly surprising move, given he only had one year of true experience at the collegiate level. But as we would find out, there was a good reason for the decision.
Back in February, Barber revealed he decided to enter the draft because he wanted to be able to take care of his homeless mother. A promising redshirt sophomore season at Auburn at least put the running back on the map, but he was hardly a lock to make an NFL roster.
In fact, Barber went undrafted that night, but the Tampa Buccaneers signed the free agent, giving him a chance to prove himself. However, he was waived last week as Tampa Bay trimmed its roster down to 53 players. The good news for the 5'11", 225-pound running back was that he cleared waivers and earned a spot on the Buccaneers' practice squad.
Then, some great news broke Thursday:
There's no denying that Barber took a huge risk by leaving Auburn early. He may have had some second thoughts when he did not get drafted, but he didn't give up on his dream. He got an opportunity, and although he may not have initially made the team, he now can provide for his mother—and, you know, play in the NFL.