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Five Questions: Westside Macon's Jaylon Barden

Jaylon Barden is a starting wide receiver for Westside High School in Macon. The 5-foot-11, 176-pound senior is currently the No. 3 receiver in the state after accumulating 1,094 yards of offense this season. Barden has received 22 collegiate offers but committed to play for the University of Pittsburgh during his sophomore year. He has earned many accolades over his high school career, including being named the 2018 Georgia Coaches Association MVP of the Year. 
Westside Head Coach Sheddrick Risper said he’s looking forward to watching Barden play for the Panthers on the ACC Network. Westside is one of the leading schools in Middle Georgia for sending kids to play at the next level. Just a few years ago they were ranked third in AAA with 19 active collegiate players. 
Risper also said Barden has become a great leader and has grown so much in his route running. He said he’s not just a kid with speed that runs in a straight line and catches deep balls, he can run the entire route tree to his advantage and can also get off press coverage.
We caught up with the offensive standout to ask him a few questions.
What has this season been like for you? “It’s been very good, I’m a senior and I’m a leader on this team. I felt like last season I didn’t get as many balls as I wanted, but this year I have and I’m producing.”
What are your expectations for the playoffs? “I’m expecting us to go really far. I want to go to state, but I hope we make it to at least the third round because my sophomore and junior year we made it to the second round of the playoffs. My goal is to make it farther than that this year.”
Who is your role model? “DeSean Jackson because both of us have speed in common, and I think that his play style is just like mine.”
Why did you choose to commit to Pittsburgh? “We thought it was a good fit because they throw the ball more than any team in the ACC. They have the most throwing attempts in the conference. The coaches and the team are also all together and on the same page. I think it’s going to be a good program once the 2020 class gets in.”
What is it like to play under the lights at Westside each week? “I love it. I wouldn’t trade it for any other team. It’s a tradition that you can’t get anywhere else.”
Follow Barden on Twitter @BardenJaylon

Hannah Goodin is a seasoned sports broadcaster with almost 10 years of experience across the southeast region. She also thrives behind the camera with an extensive background in television and digital production. Hannah’s passion for the real-... more