Yulee earns MaxPreps nod
Published 10:45 pm Saturday, July 26, 2014
The accolades for Jaquan Yulee not only recognize what he has done but also anticipate what he is going to do.
Lakeland High School’s rising junior middle linebacker was named this past week among 14 First Team Defense selections on the MaxPreps 2014 Preseason Junior Football All-American Team. MaxPreps is a CBSSports.com website that provides national high school sports coverage.
“I was shocked,” Yulee said, upon learning the news. He added that all he can say is “I’m just blessed.”
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Yulee has experience receiving awards after a strong season, like he did last year when he made First Team Defense on the MaxPreps 2013 Football Sophomore All-American Teams.
As a sophomore, he recorded 70 tackles, 55 of them solo, three sacks and one fumble recovery, making the all-conference first team and all-region second team, despite battling a high ankle sprain part of the year.
Yulee explained what the preseason honor does for him entering his junior season.
“It just makes me want to go harder,” he said. “I need to live up to my name. I’ve got to show everybody why they named me an All-American.”
Cavaliers coach Bryan Potts was not surprised by the accolade given to what Scout.com calls “one of the most sought-after 2016 prospects in the country.”
“Jaquan has been getting a lot of recognition since his freshman year, and he continues to go in the right direction athletically and academically, so I’m pretty sure this is going to be a regular thing for Jaquan as long as he stays focused and keeps up a hunger to get better,” Potts said.
The coach cited Yulee’s production on the field and in camps, which has led to broad Division I interest, as the reason for Yulee’s selection.
The list of high-profile schools giving Yulee attention has grown to include the University of Alabama, which sent a representative to meet him in the spring, and the University of Notre Dame, which invited him to a camp and had a coach indicate he was probably going to make an initial offer.
North Carolina State University made an official offer in May and has sent representatives to Lakeland, while Ohio State University, the University of South Carolina and the University of Tennessee have now shown interest.
Yulee’s individual goals this season include breaking a statistical record and trying to improve his focus. He also aims to be a significant help to his teammates.
“Jaquan is now maturing and growing into a role where he really wants to be a leader and make his teammates better,” Potts said.
The coach said he expects Yulee to be an all-conference, all-region and all-state talent this year, but mainly hopes that he will be the All-American who will make the team better and help lead it back to the playoffs.