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Javonte Middleton: A Born Leader

By Barry Every
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At this time, Middleton’s lone offer is from Army, but he is receiving serious interest from both Mercer and Navy. Two schools he would like to hear from are Duke and Georgia Tech.

Last season was a banner year for Savannah (Ga.) Jenkins football; the Warriors finished (10-2) and captured their first Region Title in five decades. With 14 returning starters, many of which are impact players, they a poised to repeat. Unfortunately they will have to do it without former Head Coach Tim Adams who to be defensive coordinator at Springfield (Ga.) Effingham County.

Jenkins named assistant coach Jason Cameron as its new leader in early May, just in time for the fledgling coach to lead his squad through an eight practice spring season. In that time he was able to preach the discipline needed to continue this unprecedented success on the gridiron.

One of the key components returning from a year ago is quarterback Javonte Middleton. In three seasons he has accounted for 4,777 total yards and 50 touchdowns. Last year the dynamic athlete showcased his overall athleticism rushing for a career high 563 yards and eight scores.

“He is definitely a DI athlete that could play defensive back, receiver or quarterback at the next level,” Cameron said. “Middleton is the type of kid that no matter where you put him he is going be a yes sir kind of player. At least 50 to 60 colleges came through our school and he was one of the main players they came to see.”

At this time, Middleton’s lone offer is from Army, but he is receiving serious interest from both Mercer and Navy. Two schools he would like to hear from are Duke and Georgia Tech. He sports a 3.0 core GPA with a 19 on the first take of the ACT.

“Coach Mitch Ware made a great impression on my mom,” Middleton said. “He comes across very sincere and it’s more than just football for him. He talks about how West Point will help develop me as a man and take care of me. Coach Robert Green of the Naval Academy is also doing a good job recruiting me and staying in touch.”

Giving Middleton the chance to play both baseball and football could be the key to his recruitment. Baseball is his first love despite the fact that he had made a name for himself on the football field.

The three-sport star was unable to attend any junior days or camps this spring do to his busy schedule. As soon as the 2016 football season was over Middleton was on the hardwood playing a role for one of the top GHSA-AAA teams in the Peach State. Once that was over he donned a baseball cap and roamed the outfield for the Warriors. Jenkins scored a hat-trick this past academic year winning Region Titles in the big three - football, basketball and baseball.

“He has always been a leader by example,” Cameron said. “But now he is more vocal and it is really reflecting on his teammates. Middleton is loved by everyone in the school whether it’s another athlete, a member of the Math Club, or the lunch lady. This past spring he missed one practice to be the keynote speaker at his middle school; that says a lot about him as a person.”

Two one-day camps that are already marked down on his calendar are The Citadel and Georgia Tech. He is also trying to work out a date with Wofford. More camps are likely once he decides which schools are truly interested in his services.

But the big question that looms is what can Coach Cameron and his Warrior football program do to repeat as Region 3-AAA Champions? Last year their only two losses came to Hinesville (Ga.) Liberty County and eventual GHSA-AAA State Champion Ellenwood (Ga.) Cedar Grove. With 26 seniors returning in 2017 this may be the most talented football team in school history.

“Discipline is the key, talent will only take you so far,” Cameron said. “Every player must be disciplined and have attention to detail, I know the talent is there on this team and players like Middleton will have to be the focal point of our offense.”

Middleton will not be alone in his quest to lead Jenkins to gridiron greatness. Returning are his two favorite targets Jamonte Roberts and Tyrone Scott, along with First Team All-Region offensive lineman Davonte Johnson. Defensively the Warriors return leading tacklers Kareem Bailey and Daniel Jordan, each racked up 100-plus stops. And don’t forget about the ball hawking safety Jordan Stafford who picked off six passes a season ago.

“I have to find ways to be a better quarterback in order to lead my team further,’ Middleton said. “I have to be a better leader on and off the field. That means being there for my teammates in the hallways at school and when out of school. Becoming a better leader will take me further in life than athleticism.”

Savannah (Ga.) Benedictine may be the reigning kings of Georgia’s port city, but Jenkins will leave their mark in 2017 – if Middleton has anything to say about it.