On his family’s Northern Colorado farm, Brian Crespo-Jaquez worked the field in the spring, put in hard work all summer and hoped for a good return in the fall.
On the football field, the Colorado State University junior has worked for three springs and summers and now this fall saw his hard work pay off with a start at left tackle against Michigan.
“You know everybody here was their (school’s) top dog,” said Crespo-Jaquez, a first-generation college student who grew up on a farm near Wellington. “And then you come here and don’t play for two years, you’ve got to get your confidence back up.
“I knew there was going to be nerves kicking in during that first play in Michigan,” he said. “But after that first play was gone, that’s what I’ve been training for my whole life.”
Unfortunately, Crespo-Jaquez suffered an injury in practice before the Middle Tennessee State game that will cause him to miss the rest of the season. Recovery will mean hard work, something in which his family is familiar.
The Agricultural Business major grew up helping his immigrant family work hard on a farm that produces soybeans, corn and wheat. So when CSU offered a scholarship, it gave him a chance to both live his football dream and still get home for Sunday dinner.
“For me, a big thing was family,” he said. “I grew up at Hughes Stadium. I’m a Fort Collins guy, growing up being a Rams fan, and I’m a farmer. My family are farmers.
“CSU has a really good agriculture program, and I decided to pursue agriculture and economics at the same time and take it from there,” Crespo-Jaquez added. “At the end of the day, the goal is to own the family farm and expand it.”
Crespo-Jaquez said his parents — both from Mexico — have worked since they were 16, moved to the United States shortly after that and met while working on farms near Wellington. He said his parents only finished one year of high school because they needed to work.
“For them, my education was a big thing,” Crespo-Jaquez said. “My mom (Maribel) was always checking my grades, and if I did something wrong, like a bad grade, and my dad (Santiago) got involved, then it was serious. I had to get it fixed. Since they didn’t have the opportunity, they knew how valuable an education would be.”
Dinner every Sunday
The Poudre Valley High School standout likes seeing some old high school friends while making new ones in and out of football. He also gets to be close to his younger sister Brianna and younger brother Santiago, Jr.
He watches a lot of animated TV shows like Rick and Morty and South Park, “anything to clear my mind,” and also enjoys playing video games like FIFA soccer, a sport his father played in Mexico.
He also gets some home cooking and (sort of) keeps track of the crops.
“We have dinner every Sunday,” Crespo-Jaquez said. “It’s like a family thing of ours. (Dad) was extremely happy when it rained (in August) because now there are shorter hours when you have water. If you go over, then you get a big fine.”
Two plans in motion
While his on-field work has been sidelined in football, Crespo-Jaquez is pushing himself academically. He said his favorite class has been one in management, albeit because the professor liked to talk about sports.
“The dream is to make it to the NFL,” he said. “If that doesn’t work, then I’ll do some internships with some local companies to learn more of the economic aspects of farming.”
Neither is an easy option. Between supply chain issues and the randomness of the weather, farming lately has been tougher for his parents.
“There’s been droughts the last couple years,” Crespo-Jaquez said of his parents’ challenges. “They’ve been struggling, but they still find a way.”
So will their son.
“CSU has a really good agriculture program, and I decided to pursue agriculture and economics at the same time and take it from there. At the end of the day, the goal is to own the family farm and expand it.”
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