first_img Published on November 21, 2013 at 1:16 am Contact Sam: sblum@syr.edu | @SamBlum3 Facebook Twitter Google+ Shaquil Barrett’s mind was swirling. Packing up his luggage as he prepared for a plane ride to Colorado, where he would begin his sophomore season as a transfer at Colorado State, Barrett got the kind of news that made him put his bags down. His girlfriend Jordanna was pregnant. “Some weird emotions came over me,” Barrett reflected. “I don’t know what it was. It was just a wave of emotions that I had.”Fast forward to two and a half years, and Barrett has two children. He’s married and lives with his family in Colorado. AdvertisementThis is placeholder textSpend just one minute talking with Barrett and you know he’s a family man. He chuckles at the slightest mention of his kids. But for Barrett, being a family man is only a part-time job. During the days and weekends, he is one of the most feared linebackers in the country. The 6-foot-2, 250-pound senior is tied for third in Division I with 10.5 sacks.On the field, he takes care of business. But off the field is when his work actually starts. “It’s pretty hard,” Barrett said, again chuckling. “I wake up with the kids. That’s probably the hardest, because I need sleep. I probably get like five hours of sleep every night.” Barrett has morning duty because the moment he gets home from practice, Jordanna Barrett gets dressed and goes to work at a local fast-food chain. She’s there from 5 p.m.-12:30 a.m. every day, working to help fund a family.“Just adapting to the whole, ‘We’re not going to eat out tonight because we need diapers’ kind of thing has been more difficult,” Jordanna Barrett said. “We’ve sacrificed a lot of things that we would rather do. We just don’t do it.” Luckily for the Barretts, the Colorado State football team has adopted the kids as its own. Jordanna Barrett said there are some players that she was wary at first to let play with her children, but now Shaquil Barrett Jr. and Braylon are like nephews to the team. Bernard Blake, Barrett’s teammate, is often called on to babysit the kids. It’s a role he said he does without complaint. “I don’t look at Shaquil as a teammate, I look at him as a brother of mine,” Blake said. “And any time you can spend time with your family, that’s just what you do.” Having children for Barrett has forced him to mature. It’s forced him to think about his kids more than himself, Jordanna Barrett said. It was a wake-up call for Barrett, but not the first time he’s needed to rethink his future. In high school, in his hometown of Baltimore, Barrett wasn’t succeeding in school and his athletic performance was dwindling as well. He decided to follow in his brother’s footsteps and attend Boys Town High School just outside of Omaha, Neb., a school designed to turn kids’ lives around. Jordanna Barrett said the school helped shape her husband into the caring person that he has become. “If they had stayed in Baltimore, I don’t think either one of them would have been anywhere near where they are today,” she said. “Just for being mature, it got him on the straight and narrow, and football-wise, it exceeded every expectation of him.” For Barrett now, every aspect of his life is successful. He knows the future won’t be easy, but he’s content with the present. Whenever he takes the field on Saturdays, his family is in the crowd. Shaquil is old enough now to point out his father on defense during games. As Barrett works toward a potential NFL career, he fully acknowledges that his future is secondary to his responsibilities.“I have to meet my wife’s needs,” he said, “and meet my kids’ needs.“I put my needs on the backburner sometimes.” Commentslast_img

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