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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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One step away
June 8, 2024

The makings of a middle blocker

Jazzmin+Babers
Photo by By Wesley Holmes
Jazzmin Babers

What began as an unplanned visit to A&M turned volleyball middle blocker Jazzmin Babers into a diehard Aggie.

By her sophomore year of high school, Babers was already getting college offers to play volleyball, making visits to Rice, Louisville and other colleges. Her visit to A&M was  little more than an afterthought — she described it as simply a “pit stop” on the way home to Waco. After her visit however, Babers said she immediately wanted to become an Aggie.

“I didn’t think I wanted to come [to A&M] at all,” Babers said. “But I stepped on campus and just fell in love with the coaches and the team and the people. It’s a great school.”

With her father, Dino Babers, being a college football coach, Jazzmin lived in several different areas as a child. Dino was an assistant coach at Arizona, Texas A&M, Pittsburgh, UCLA and Baylor before getting his first Division I head coach position at Bowling Green University in 2014.

“I moved around a lot as a child growing up, but it just gave me a lot of opportunities to meet new people and see a ton of different states, so I enjoyed it,” Babers said.

When Babers got into her teen years, her dad was the wide receivers’ coach at Baylor, so she settled in as a student at Midway High School in Waco, Texas. Babers played soccer growing up but decided to give volleyball a try as a freshman, and her career took off from there.

“I picked up volleyball my freshman year of high school, and decided that I wanted to pursue that a little more,” Babers said. “So I had to drop soccer because I started driving two hours to Austin to play on a club team.”

After committing to A&M, Babers had an exciting junior season. She earned All-District honors and was named the district’s most outstanding hitter. As a senior, she tore her labrum, a piece of cartilage in her shoulder, and surgery forced her to miss the end of her final high school season. Despite not playing a full year she still garnered All-State accolades.

Babers said her shoulder surgery was the biggest obstacle she has had to overcome in her athletic career, and said her shoulder still bothers her to this day.

Still regaining the strength the surgery sapped, Babers and her coaches decided redshirting was her best option, especially since there were five middle blockers at the time. Babers said her year being redshirted helped her adjust from high school to college, which was a big change for her. 

“A lot of us on this team, in high school we were like the best players, the biggest kids,” Babers said. “You come to college and everyone is just as big as you, just as strong as you, so it’s completely different physicality-wise, and the game is a lot faster.”

Once Babers got on the floor for the Aggies, she was nothing but great. She started every match as a redshirt freshman and was named to the SEC All-Freshman team. As a sophomore, she got even better. Her .449 hitting percentage was second in the SEC and barely missed setting the A&M conference record. These exploits earned her All-SEC honors and she was named to the American Volleyball Coaches Association honorable mention All-American team.

So far in 2015, Babers leads the team in points, blocks and hitting percentage. But, like any successful athlete, she said she is never satisfied and always sees room for improvement.

“I’d say I could always get better,” Babers said. “I guess it’s a good start compared to last year, but there’s a lot of stuff I need to improve on.”

Babers’ said her focus is not limited to the volleyball court. After college, she said her plans reside on traveling a little more and doing non-profit work. 

“After volleyball, I think I want to teach abroad and maybe dvo missionary work or nonprofit-type work in a different country,” Babers said.

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