Jeremiah West isn’t new to Friday nights around St. Augustine football, but his role has been a little different the last two years.
As a former musician, West would take the field Friday nights with the band playing the tenor drum.
“I was good,” says West. “I was second from the end.”
He also found out he's pretty good at football. We’re talking NCAA Division I good.
From the stands to the football field, no one saw Jeremiah coming.
“We called for football practice, and everybody came,” says Purple Knights head coach Al Jones. “And all of a sudden, here’s this tall, lanky kid playing corner.”
While West was totally unknown to coaches then, he got their attention in a hurry, despite having never played the game.
“I didn’t know a thing about football,” says West. “I always watched it with my dad, but I never knew what was really going on.”
Coach Jones says his physical play and athletic frame stood out the most. Standing just over six feet tall and 170 pounds, West’s size is ideal for the modern defensive back, but he’s also learning the game at an accelerated rate to become a leader on the field and prove to recruiters that he’s got what it takes to play at the next level.
“I knew I had the body for it,” says West. “But I never knew that I could go out there and just start playing, and people would start liking me for how I play.”
West says it was an all or nothing decision when he took the money that he would have used for his band budget and put it toward his new football equipment. As a junior going on senior, the lifetime of discipline he learned in a musical background transfers to the field.
“I’ve got a little itch about me,” says West. “I’m always on my feet. I’m always alert. I’m long and physical. I can run, and I’ve got nice hips.”
All of that is very true, but what his coaches say West has more than anything is the right attitude. As a senior and a leader, he knows the team goes as he does, and the way he carries himself can determine how far the Purple Knights go in their journey for a state title.
“Just continue being Jeremiah West, the kid that wants to be better than he is, and the kid that wants to go to the next level and play in college,” says coach Jones.
With offers from the likes of Arkansas, Memphis and Tulane to go along with visits to LSU and looks from Texas Tech and Utah, you can bet West will be making plays on a big-time college football field in the very near future.
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