All Sterling Galban asked for, when looking for a new place to play, was a chance. Jacksonville State head coach Rich Rodriguez and his staff was happy to give him that.

Galban, a 5-foot-11, 180-pound slot receiver from Burnet, Texas, was a high school speed burner. He was a three-star recruit who chose to attend Texas Tech over a list of scholarship offers that included Illinois, Iowa State, Nevada, Southern Miss, New Mexico and Texas. He moved into an offense that seemingly fit his skills perfectly.

Unfortunately for Galban, he never really got an opportunity. Knee injuries cost him his first two seasons before he eased back into it with a year on the scout team in 2020. He got on the field in 2021 but did not have a catch. He played under three different head coaches while in Lubbock.

“When I first got there, I went through some unfortunate injuries to my knee, I kind of got behind the eight ball,” Galban said. “We had a coaching change and they recruited some guys when I was out. It was kind of an unfortunate situation. Whenever I hit the portal, I just kind of wanted a second chance, a new opportunity.”

Rodriguez didn’t want to fill an entire roster of newcomers with transfer portal players. They did want to fill some key needs, though. Jacksonville State wide receiver coach Ryan Garrett spotted Galban.

“When I hit the portal, I posted it on Twitter, trying to get my name out there,” Galban said. “Coaches hit you up through your DMs, trying to see what your situation is (and telling you) what kind of player they’re looking for. Coach Garrett actually hit me up first. We started talking and it went from there.”

Rodriguez said they brought Galban in for an official visit and sat him down in front of a video screen.

“We showed him clips of what we did with other guys in the slot position,” Rodriguez recalled. “I think he saw himself in that role. As far as he could learn it, he did. We had a great visit, he’s got a great family, very supportive. I think more than anything, Sterling just wanted an opportunity.”

Galban said he did envision himself fitting in nicely in the Jacksonville State offense. He showed up in Jacksonville and got to work. Rodriguez saw it was a good fit quickly, especially with his speed.

“He’s a real competitive guy,” Rodriguez stated. “You could see that on the film, you could see that on the high school film. He’s learned a lot. He’s still getting the feel for our offense but he loves being out there. He practices hard and he wants to get better. He’s always doing extra. We’re tickled to death to have him.”

Galban’s numbers don’t jump off the page but he’s been productive. He’s caught eight passes for 165 yards, which is a healthy 21 yards per catch, with a touchdown against Davidson. He had three catches against Stephen F. Austin and Murray State and two catches against Davidson.

“He’s had a good year, so far, but his best is out in front of him,” Rodriguez said. “He’s still learning a bit how routes work and certain things we want to do against certain coverages. He is what we thought he was, a competitive, fast player who can make plays.”

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