JUCO DB Jaylen Striker's perseverance lands him his first offer via CU
Jaylen Striker of Independence Community College in Kansas (you might recognize Indy and the Pirates from season three of Netflix's Last Chance U, which also featured Buffs' senior CB Delrick Abrams, who transferred from Indy to CU in 2018) recently picked up his first offer, from Colorado's Brian Michalowski. Striker signed with Indy out of Manatee High School in Bradenton, Florida. He'll play with the Pirates in 2019 and look to transfer in 2020.
Striker's journey out of high school, his first year of JUCO ball at Indy and then now, having picked up his first offer, is a tale of ups and downs, of mental highs and lows but most of all, perseverance.
While he certainly received interest in high school, as he went through his junior and season years, it was becoming increasingly apparent that he wouldn't be academically eligible to go where he wanted.
"There was no chance of me qualifying out of high school," he said. "A lot of coaches wanted me but I was never [academically] eligible."
It wasn't due to carelessness or an inability to hunker down and get good grades.
The [ineligibility] wasn't because I didn't have the brains, but my dad passed away and I lost all focus," he said.
Losing his father at age 16 was no doubt terribly hard to get through, but Striker's desire to play football at the next level never diminished. That passion ended up leading him to sign out of high school with Indy. Pirates' defensive coordinator and assistant head coach Jason Martin facilitated the move.
"All I needed was a second chance," Striker said. "Coach Martin provided that for me. [He] gave me a chance and I didn't look the other way. I took the initiative to get myself together and humble myself. Now I'm here."
Colorado, namely Michalowski, has been in contact with Striker, who is now 6-foot-3 and 195 pounds, since the spring. Although the Buffs are his first and lone offer at the moment, Houston, Kentucky and Auburn have also been in touch with him.
"I've been talking to [those] schools but I'm really focusing on this season," Striker said. "This all caught me by surprise. I'm just blessed — that's all I can say."
Fans of the Buffs should consider Striker hot on Colorado.
"It's my dream school," he said of CU. "I was beyond excited [to be offered]. I couldn't even sleep last night — it still doesn't seem real."
Striker said he's interested in visiting and has his eyes on the Colorado v. Washington game in Boulder, which is the Buffs' second-to-last regular season game of the year on Nov. 23, as a possible date to get on campus.
"I see myself fitting into the defense," he said. "I'm relentless, I want to compete and I want to be coached by the best."
With more offers likely on the horizon for Striker, who has traveled on a winding road as opposed to a straightaway to get to the position he's in now, his eyes remain on the Pirates' 2019 season, which begins Aug. 24 versus Dodge City Community College.