Former Cal Poly star and current New York Giants rookie wide receiver Ramses Barden made a generous pledge Monday to his alma mater.
Barden, a former All-American for the Mustangs, announced he will donate a minimum of $7,500 to the program this season. In addition to $1,000 for every Cal Poly win, he’ll donate $500 for every touchdown he scores for the Giants.
“Cal Poly is a special place that I am proud to be forever linked with,” Barden said in a statement. “I had a wonderful experience in San Luis Obispo and would not trade my time for any of the so-called ‘bigger schools.’ ”
Barden also asked the community to follow suit.
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“Please join me in supporting our school, our football program and our community by giving what you can,” he added.
Barden caught six passes for 59 yards for the Giants in four preseason games. He has played in two regular-season contests this year for New York, both in late September, before being on the inactive game-day list three times this month.
In early October, the Newark Star-Ledger reported that New York quarterback Eli Manning said the Giants had implemented some red-zone routes specifically for Barden prior to their game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sept. 27, but ended up not using them come game time.
“You just have to get used to how he catches the ball,” Manning told the Ledger. “What’s the best way he catches it? Is he going to jump up for it or does he want it over his shoulder? We had some stuff in last week — some fades — that we never got to during the game, but we wanted to work on a few things.”
Barden’s announcement Monday is the latest positive for Cal Poly.
Before the season, the school installed a 16-foot-tall, 28-foot-wide video scoreboard at Alex G. Spanos Stadium thanks in large part to donors Albert and Patty Moriarty, who donated a naming gift of $600,000 for the project. The board was designed in order to recoup its cost and eventually provide sustained revenue through built-in advertising opportunities. The Mustangs are also in their first year of wearing Nike-sponsored uniforms.
Barden was chosen in the third round of this year’s NFL Draft (85th overall — the second-highest in Mustangs history).
At Cal Poly, the 6-foot-6, 227-pound Barden caught 206 passes for 4,203 yards and 50 touchdowns, all school records.
In the process, he set NCAA records for most consecutive games with a touchdown catch (20) and most career games with a touchdown catch in Football Championship Subdivision (formerly Division I-AA) history (32).
Last year, his 11 straight games with a touchdown catch tied the single-game NCAA record set by Randy Moss.