JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL)- In our digital series ‘High School Standouts,’ Digital Sports Reporter Michael Epps features local athletes with incredible talent, hoping to take that talent to the next level.
These are athletes that stand out both on and off the field.
This week’s High School Standout is Jaxon Diamond, a junior football player at Science Hill High School.
As we approach the start of the high school football season, teams are in scramble mode.
“Right now we’re just trying to figure out how to do these things and get everything in and play on August 21st,” Science Hill head football coach Stacy Carter said.
Tennessee Governor Bill Lee gave the go-ahead to play high school football, so they have to catch up.
“We’re just now going over tackling stuff, stuff you do in the spring you know teaching these kids how to do things right so you got three weeks before your first game and try to cover things that you would have covered way back in the spring,” Carter said.
One guy that isn’t scrambled is Science Hill junior quarterback Jaxon Diamond.
“Super excited it’s my 3rd year here waiting for the chance to prove myself and to show people what I’ve got and I think this year’s the way to do it,” Diamond said.
Diamond has seen his knowledge of the game grow throughout his time as the backup QB.
“Spent the last two years learning coach Carter’s playbook everything that he’s given me all the knowledge so I’ve been able to learn from him,” Diamond said.
He also kept working throughout quarantine, still using this spring as another opportunity to grow.
“I was in the weight room six out of the seven days, I was out here with the guys getting a couple receivers out here just throwing routes making sure that we’re all clicking and the weight room was a big part of what I needed to do in the off-season,” Diamond said.
“Oh I bet he’s gained 20 pounds at least which is a big deal and it’s really changed things for him,” Carter said.
That work has paid off, as he’s now in line to be the ‘Toppers’ starting quarterback this season.
“The energy I bring, 100%, the energy I bring, the ability to adapt to any play that happens we’ve got plenty of receivers out here and if they can get open I can do my thing out there and really hit them,” Diamond said.
“Jaxon Diamond’s really come along he gets better and better all the time but he’s a different person than he was last year bigger stronger throws the ball very well and he’s got a lot of leadership potential too,” Carter said.
He feels that mindset has rubbed off on the other guys, even in this strange sprint to the start of the season.
“I don’t see any nervousness I think people are hungry I think people are ready to win I think people have been missing this a lot and I think that’s what gives them the motivation to do work out here,” Diamond said.
Things still look a lot different, with all the COVID-19 safety guidelines.
“All these things where we sign people in checking temperatures we have all these different procedures out on the field even though you’re in contact you’re still keeping social distance away so there’s a lot of things there that you usually don’t have to do,” Carter said.
Despite the challenges, these guys are happy to get together again.
“Everyone’s pumped I mean you should have heard the locker room in there everyone was ready to go we’re just excited to be out here,” Diamond said.
“It still feels good that we get to do some things and get started every day things are changing you’ll hear different things every day from somebody so we just gotta take one day at a time and do the best we can right now,” Carter said.
Follow this series throughout the year as WJHL’s Michael Epps finds the High School Standout every week on WJHL.com.