Entry #16: The Media
I really don’t know how to explain what it was like going from a normal kid to constantly being in the newspapers and on web sites. It’s just a feeling I can describe as “Wow” and all I could do was smile.
I remember when I was a junior, I texted my dad when I found out I was in a national magazine. “Dad! My name is in this magazine!” He replied, “What? No it isn’t.” I said “No, for real. My name is in the Sporting News magazine.” He rushed to go buy a copy right away. He texted me and said, “I appreciate you making the name famous.” (I’m Eric Ebron, Jr. – named after my father).
This entire situation was just real joyful because I went from being a kid that didn’t know what he was going to do or where he was going to go to having these huge metal gates just open up and say, “This is where you need to go and this is what you need to do.” It’s a blessing, really.
My first interview was at our jamboree before my junior year. I think I scored three touchdowns in the one scrimmage. Everybody wondered, 'Where did this kid come from?' All of a sudden, there were cameras and recorders in my face. The reporters were asking me all these questions and I kept thinking, ‘I was just playing football.’ Back then I had no idea what all of this meant. I was just excited to be playing football. The way I saw it was, I got open and caught the ball. I was sitting there like a deer in headlights answering these questions from reporters. Afterward, my coach broke down what was about to start happening. It actually took more than one speech from my coach for me to fully understand – it took several.
The reason why I committed so early was because I couldn’t focus on the things that are important to getting me to the next step, like my grades. I wanted to wait until Signing Day to have this big press conference. But I started thinking, ‘I don’t know if I can actually make it to Signing Day,’ because I was not ready to handle the media on top of the phone calls from coaches.
When I was not committed, I told my coach, “Honestly my phone is just ridiculous.” He asked, “What do you mean?” I said, “I can’t even send a text message.” I don’t want to sound like it was crazy, but I was the new thing on the market and everybody wanted to find out what was going on. It just took me a really long time to find out what was going on. Other kids got to adjust to it during their freshman and sophomore years. But me, I had no idea what was happening and it happened all of a sudden.
Early on, I didn’t have a cell phone. So what the media and the coaches would do is they would call my mom’s cell phone. Her phone was my phone for a while. Eventually she said, “Oh no, we have to get you a phone. We’re not going to be having this.” So I appreciate the media, really, for helping me get this new cell phone I have right now.