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We finally get a chance to sit down and set up the interview. He displays his eagerness for the chance to tell the story of his journey through the exuberance of his voice. Now we are ready.
Colton Jumper is a senior linebacker who played for the Tennessee Volunteers. Standing 6’2″ at 229 pounds, Jumper made a name for himself in the state of Tennessee. Born and raised in Lookout Mountain in Chattanooga, Tennessee, he has been exposed to football since birth.
“My great uncle [Tom Jumper] played here in 1951 on the National Championship team,” said Jumper. His older sister Hannah Jumper also ran track (cross-country) and was SEC Freshman of the Year.
Jumper started to fall in love with football while in third grade. The contact of the sport really caught his attention. Every since then, Jumper has been fascinated with the idea of being counted on to stop the opposition with force.
“I was one of those kids that didn’t grow into my body until my sophomore year,” stated Jumper. In his freshman year, he started out as a punter but the coaches told him that he was too big and athletic to be a punter. That’s how Jumper got introduced to the linebacker position.
As a linebacker, Jumper is very instinctive and coupled with his athleticism, he’s able to get to the quarterback or runner very swiftly. “I think I’m a smart player. I spend a lot of time in the film room. I like to figure out offensive tendencies and tips,” said Jumper.
Jumper showcased his witty decision making along with his ability to shed blockers each Saturday.
His coverage skills matched with his speed, which allows him to go from sideline-to-sideline, makes him difficult to be blocked and hard for the quarterback to locate.
The play making linebacker tries to emulate a certain NFL player. “Luke Kuechly is a general and you can tell he knows where to go before the play is going to happen,” states Jumper.
Because of his play making ability, Jumper was able to land a scholarship at the Naval Academy. Everything was looking good for the Chattanooga native but after taking multiple medical test for the Navy, Jumper found that he had a kidney condition which disqualified him from going to the Naval Academy.
“I was one of those kids that didn’t grow into my body until my sophomore year”
“I didn’t find out until a week before I was suppose to report,” remembered Jumper. Wondering what his next move was, he decided to do a postgrad (13th year of high school) year in New Jersey and played another year of football to boost his rankings coming out of high school to get re-recruited.
Yet still, he wasn’t able to get the attention from the type of schools he was seeking.
Throughout his adversity, Jumper has always had family and friends support him but there are two people that stood out to him. “My sister is an inspiration, especially watching how much she would run and how dedicated she was in running cross-country and track,” said Jumper.
His father is someone that he admires and attempts to be like. “My dad worked his tail off and started a couple of businesses from nothing.”
“I think I’m a smart player. I spend a lot of time in the film room. I like to figure out offensive tendencies and tips”
Jumper decided to try being a “walk-on” for the Volunteers after talking to the linebacker coach Tommy Thigpen. “It’s hard to come in as a walk-on and I hadn’t known anyone to walk-on a SEC team,” stated Jumper.
This motivated the young athletic linebacker and nothing was more gratifying to him once he got named a starter during his sophomore season. From there, Jumper never looked back. In his senior year, he had ten tackles for lost, 4.5 sacks and an interception.
After his best year as a Volunteer, Jumper was invited to the Tropical Bowl, an All-Star game for top seniors across the nation that was held in Daytona, Florida.
The NFL prospect is now preparing for his pro day and the opportunity to make it to the next level. “My goal is looking to make a name for myself and although some might feel I might not make it, I enjoy the challenge and that’s what motivates me.”