CORAL GABLES, Fla.--They are stories of perseverance. Stories about growing up, becoming men and being a part of a family. One-by-one, we hear from them. These are the Miami Hurricanes...
Ben Jones | Offensive Line | Junior | Miami, Fla.
I always wanted to come to Miami. When I was a little boy, my uncles and cousins always talked about the school, and I would watch the Canes on television and everything. Seeing the great players that came through here, you know, since I'm already from here, I thought I would try and become great too.
My purpose is I want to be a blessing to everybody. I just praise God to put me in a position to help other people get through things in life.
Family is everything to me. I'm a big family person, that's part of the reason I'm in a position to do certain things, because my family means everything. I have four brothers and one sister, and I'm the oldest.
Playing football has given me an opportunity to see new things and meet new people in a different atmosphere. You get to travel everywhere. My first time traveling was in high school when we played in Texas, but this has given me new opportunities.
Protecting the quarterback is everything. He's like a baby back there, and we're his father (laughs). We put our life on the line for him, protecting him is EVERYTHING.
Miami Northwestern is my school. I loved that school. I transferred from Miami Springs in the middle of my sophomore year. The two schools were two different atmospheres. I experienced a lot of good at Miami Northwestern.
When I was six years old, I was having fun, running around, being bad. Getting into everything (laughs). I started playing football my freshman year of high school. I hit my growth spurt around 6th grade or so, and I played basketball. I ran track too. But football was it for me.
Competition is great. I love competing, that's why I came here, to compete. Compete against the best competition, because I feel like I'm the best, so I want to compete with people who are of my caliber.
Brandon Washington is my boy, man. I love that man (laughs). He's a funny dude, he keeps me smiling. I don't smile much, but when I'm around him, he helps lift my spirits. He's a good person to hang around, I see him as a brother. Of everyone on the team, I feel myself closest to him.
I never thought I'd be in the position that I am today. Just with the background I came from and the things I went through, I didn't see myself here, until my uncle took me under his wing and showed me the way. If it wasn't for certain people in my life, I wouldn't be here.
Legacy is another reason I came here. To build a legacy, and to be a part of the legacy, with all the great football players that came from here. We're building our own now, and I want to be a part of it before I leave.
My first year playing football, I played defensive end and tight end. I started playing offensive line my senior year. My first year after transferring to Northwestern, I got hurt in practice and hurt my knee. I sat out the whole season, and for some reason, I couldn't move right and wasn't as fast as I used to be. They asked if I wanted to play offensive line, and it took off from there.
High school football was easy, it was like nothing. The type of team I played on, with Marcus Forston, Sean Spence, Kendal Thompkins, Tommy Streeter, Brandon Washington, Aldarius Johnson, it was nothing. When I got here, we were playing with guys that were just like us, so it was harder.
Art Kehoe is a funny man. He's a good coach, real hands on and makes sure things get done. He's a player's coach, and not just with football. He'll make sure that you're on top of your schoolwork too. He loves his players, so he wants to see them successful in life. I like that man.
I didn't have a tough time transitioning with the new staff. I like all the new coaches, they're all cool guys, and they seem like great coaches. I can't wait for the season to start so we can really get into it with them.
Teamwork is the reason we're doing everything that we're doing now. Working together, coming together, they're setting all these rules for all of us to be on one page, so we won't have the same things that happened last year. We weren't really on the same page last year, and this year, we're starting to get things right. We're getting there. We aren't there yet, but we're getting there.
I think the offensive line is the closest group on the team. We never argue, we never get into fights with each other. When there is a problem on the team, we get together and talk about it. That's my family.
When I first came to Miami, I didn't really know anything about film study, playbooks, all that. I looked up to Jason Fox, because he was the man. I told him before he left that I was going to be better than him, and I still owe that. I learned a lot from him.
Last words...Never quit. Anything is possible. If things are hard now, later down the road things will change for you.
Make sure to check in for a new Behind the Facemask profile each and everyday in preparation for the Hurricane football season opener. For a review of all past profiles, check out Behind the Facemask Central.