Every college football player’s dream is to make that signature play when the lights are shining brightest. Against Arkansas, walk-on linebacker Barton Lester made his play.
Punting out of the back of their own endzone, the Razorbacks saw Auburn line up ready to send the house. In the middle of that scrum were two players on very different paths: special teams standout Jordyn Peters and Lester.
Peters came flying off the left side, blocking the fourth punt of his career. As the wet football slid around the endzone, Lester was a ways away from the play after being spun around.
Doing what any linebacker would do, though -- find the football -- Lester made his attack from a few feet out and found himself on top of the football and on the scoreboard, putting up six for his team.
“I just hauled my butt to the ball as fast as I could,” Lester said. “There was a scramble, and I just saw it land there, so I snatched it and tried to stand up as fast as I could to show the referees that we had scored.”
This was a moment that Lester had spent a long time thinking about.
“I’ve actually dreamed about it the last three nights,” Lester said. “So, when it happened today, I just praised God for it and am just super blessed to be in that position. I’ve worked my butt off my whole life just to get to this point, to play at Auburn. To have a play like that, it’s just a dream come true.”
Sign up for our newsletter
Get The Plainsman straight to your inbox.
From Montgomery, Alabama, Lester started his football career at Montgomery Academy. After playing both sides of the ball in high school, Lester took his talents to the Air Force Academy.
Lester was a redshirt in 2017 and played in 2018, but two seasons at the Academy were enough for Lester.
“I went in the transfer [portal] and had a couple offers from smaller schools, but I knew I always wanted to play at Auburn,” Lester said. “That was my dream, and I had my opportunity to walk-on here, and I felt like I was good enough to make some contributions.”
Head coach Gus Malzahn, who walked-on to play at the very school Lester scored on, has been pleased with Lester and the work he puts in.
“You know, what has really stood out to me about him is just that he does anything we ask him to do,” Malzahn said Tuesday. “He’s a guy that can really help us, we feel like, moving forward on special teams. So, we’re real pleased with Lester right now.”
Whether or not Lester scores again or makes another big play, he will always have his touchdown to remember.
“I just praise the Lord I was able to get a role this year and just be in that position,” Lester said. “Make a big play in a big SEC game. Just very excited, and I thank the Lord for that.”
Do you like this story? The Plainsman doesn't accept money from tuition or student fees, and we don't charge a subscription fee. But you can donate to support The Plainsman.Support The Plainsman