Player of the Week: Jaquan Yulee

Published 7:57 pm Saturday, September 8, 2012

Freshman Cavalier wows in first game

Lakeland High School freshman linebacker Jaquan Yulee won the Suffolk News-Herald’s first Player of the Week poll of the year after being nominated for his stellar performance against Deep Creek in the very first game of his high school career.

Lakeland freshman linebacker Jaquan Yulee piled up a team-leading nine tackles and also had two sacks and two forced fumbles in the first game of his high school career. His defense helped limit Deep Creek to one first down for the game.

He lead the team with nine tackles — four of them for a loss — along with two sacks, and two forced fumbles while providing a suffocating defensive presence that helped make the Hornets’ offense a complete non-factor in the Cavaliers’ 49-0 victory Aug. 30.

“To be honest with you, I was surprised what I did the first game,” Yulee said. “But, my dad, my grandma always told me to just go ahead and do what I got to do, don’t worry about nothing else. ‘Just keep your head focused on the game, you’ll get it done.’”

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Yulee, who turned 15 July 9, began playing football when he was 6.

“Yeah, I played Pop Warner, but I was too big to play, so I had to keep on moving up,” he said.

He currently stands at 6’2 and weighs 225 pounds, but the forecast says his growing days are not over yet.

“I ain’t done,” he said with a smile. “Doctor says I’m looking at 6’6” or 6’5”.”

This size, he has been told, is outside the norm, but it feeds into one of his goals — to leave his imprint on the game of football.

“I want to do something else that nobody else’s done,” he said.

High school football has given him a larger stage to work, and it took him only one game to make an impression on everyone — even the opposition. During the second half of the Deep Creek game, after yet another stop by Yulee, a member of the Hornets organization remarked that he was the best football player on the field.

“I play every game like it was my last,” he said. “My dad, he was like, ‘Don’t worry about this. Go out there and do your game. When you’re on the field, just block everybody out and just play your game.’”

He was inspired to do well by one person, in particular.

“It’s been my granddad, for real,” Yulee said. “My granddad made me want to do it all.”

Yulee also plays basketball. He’s averaged 16 points a game in a summer league, and he hopes to play for Lakeland this winter.

But his high standards extend beyond the realm of sports.

“My goal for the future is to have a 4.0 (GPA) and go to a Division I college,” he said.

While he will not have to worry about college recruitment for a while, Yulee said that he would love to play for either Penn State or Ohio State.

As far as high school football is concerned, he is enjoying his early experience.

“It’s wonderful, for real,” he said. “My goal is to get to a state championship. I’m trying to do big things.”