Bobby Limon has found a home, and that says a lot for the redshirt freshman lineman on the University of the Incarnate Word (UIW) football team.
Just a little more than two years ago Limon wasn’t quite sure where he was going to live and had to endure an emotional roller coaster that included the displacement of his family, medical issues for his mother and father, and a knee injury that kept him from playing last season.
Able to overcome those challenges, Limon is now working toward earning a starting spot for the Cardinals, a task UIW head coach Larry Kennan has no doubt his budding lineman will achieve.
“He’s a tremendously strong guy,” Kennan said. “We’re expecting good things. He’s got charisma and he’s a great student (3.4 GPA).”
Limon said his ultimate dream is to play in the NFL, but he also knows the value of teaching others.
“It’s been an amazing opportunity here at UIW,” Limon said. “The biggest thing is having my own home – my own bed. I love these guys here; having the time of my life. Maybe one day I’ll become a college coach and use football as a means to teach life skills.”
During the recruiting process, Kennan said his staff was a little concerned because Limon transferred to a new school twice during his junior year. But the coach quickly learned it was because the family was going through some financial troubles.
“He’s gone through some challenges that are either going to make you or break you,” Kennan said.
The rising gridiron star was a junior and had a budding future at Lehman High School in Kyle, Texas. But one night following a football game, the Limons were informed the house they were renting had been sold.
“There was this note duct taped to the door telling us we had four days to move out,” Limon said.
The following day, his father, John Limon, suffered a mild heart attack. At the same time, his mother, Susan, was battling multiple sclerosis.
“There we were, me, my younger sister (Brianna) and mom, trying to move stuff out of the house,” Limon said. “My dad got out of the hospital a day later and he’s trying to help move the heavy stuff. We got a U-Haul trailer and went to live with some friends in Austin for a couple of months so I could finish school.”
Limon, at 6-foot-2 and 315 pounds, was set to transfer to Hays High School – Lehman’s top rival – where his father was hired by the school district. But the University Interscholastic League (UIL) barred Limon from playing at his new school, claiming the family moved for the purpose of playing football, which is in violation of their rules. Lehman’s coach stated to Limon’s father that he requested to the UIL that he not be allowed to play at Hays High School because Hays and Lehman were in the same district.
As he prepared for his senior year, Limon was attending a summer football camp at Sam Houston State in Huntsville, when he met fellow UIW Cardinal Devyn Jensen and several other players from Port Lavaca, who encouraged him to visit Calhoun High School.
In search of a new start, the Limon family traveled to the Texas coastal bend and fell in love with the location and people; and John was able to land a job as a paraprofessional teaching computer skills at an elementary school.
Limon’s ineligibility status with the UIL was lifted and he was free to play football, where he helped Calhoun reach the Class 4A, Division II state semifinals his senior year.
“Any time you see a kid that size come to your program, you get a little excited,” Port Lavaca head coach Richard Whitaker said. “But more than that, what struck me about Bobby was how he stayed positive through everything. Everyone fell in love with him and he brought great leadership to our team. He was just a kid looking to fit in.”
And he’s done that quite nicely at UIW.
By Raúl Flores