Jaden Barr is no stranger to shattering records and leaving a legacy of success in his wake.
A multi-sport athlete in his youth, the former Pintos all-stater has quite the track record — Barr compiled a 38-4 record as California High School's starting quarterback, accumulated 4,100 combined passing and rushing yards in just his senior year, and played a part in an astronomical 59 touchdowns that same season. That's translated at the collegiate level, too — Barr is currently ranked third all-time in total offensive yardage among Truman State University Bulldog athletes, and stamped his name on the record for most rushing yards in a single season by a Truman signal caller last year.
Impressive, sure. But if you ask him, the individual accolades aren't what he's in it for.
"I don't really care about the records, you know?" Barr said. "I've been told I'm close to breaking the all-time yardage record at Truman — I think I'm in third right now, and I need like 2,500 yards or something like that to be first all-time — but really at the end of the day I just care about winning, and I want to win more games this year than I have the past few seasons."
It becomes evident quickly that Barr is much less concerned about getting his name on plaques entering his final collegiate season than he is about being a leader and a competitor. He was voted team captain for his sophomore and junior seasons — and said he hopes his teammates will honor him with a selection again this season — and is currently pursuing a master's degree in Leadership at Truman.
His goals reflect that mentality of teamwork and competitiveness — Barr said, along with his hope to serve as a captain again, he wants to help his team earn a playoff berth and win its season opener, both for the first time in his Bulldog career.
"I want to come out and get that confidence early," Barr said. "Get in the win column, establish ourselves there."
That theme of establishing one's self started longer ago than the preseason for Barr, though. Reflecting on his time in California growing up, Barr said it all helped to set the foundation for where he finds himself today.
"Coming from a small town, I'm just an athlete," Barr said. "I don't really have a favorite sport. I played everything growing up — football, baseball, basketball. I was at the golf course like every day during the summer."
That constant activity — and love for competition — helped instill in Barr a drive to pursue victory, he said. His relationships with his athletic coaches and close friends were especially instrumental in making him the competitor he is today.
It also made his college athletics choice more of a toss-up — Barr said he wasn't sure what sport he should play, given his experience. He ultimately decided on football because it would be hard for him to play that sport after college.
"I was thinking, whenever I'm 30, there's never going to be a tackle football game," Barr said. "There might be slow-pitch softballthere's going to be old man leagues at the rec center for basketball, but there's never going to be anything quite like real football."
Barr said coming from a community like California, he's developed a strong work ethic — nothing is ever given to you, he said, and must be earned instead. Barr said he took this to heart as he grew and learned in his hometown.
"Throughout all of high school, I tried to be the hardest working person in any room I was in," Barr said.
Barr remembered most fondly the friends he made during his formative years, however. He said the young men he spent the most time around as he grew older have now become the kind of friends that make him feel like no time has passed since they last met, no matter how long it's actually been.
Off the field, Barr has a lot to consider. He said he planned out his master's program to line up pretty nicely with the end of his football career and will graduate in December — "You know, ride off into the sunset," Barr said. His immediate next steps are a bit up in the air, though.
"I don't really know what's next after this. I'm a big planner, so that's kind of not okay with me," Barr laughed. "I like to have things lined up."
Barr does have some employment prospects in the back pocket — he studied business while earning his bachelor's degree and just completed an internship in St. Louis. He'll also be planning a wedding with his fiance, Rachel, a former Bulldog athlete herself. Alongside exciting life changes comes uncertainty of what's next, but one thing's for sure — Jaden Barr will take the lessons he learned in California along for the ride.