Javontae' Jones played baseball, football and basketball during his four years at Lakewood High School with varying degrees of success in each sport.
Now that he is about to graduate from Lakewood, Jones is going to get a chance to focus on one sport at the collegiate level, and that will be football.
Jones, who played free safety for the Gators, has signed to play with Greensboro College, an NCAA Division III school located in Greensboro, North Carolina.
Jones is happy to be getting the opportunity to continue playing football.
"It's just a blessing," said the 5-foot-9-inch, 175-pound Jones. "I'm just thankful to be put into this position. I'm going to do the best I can because God blessed me with this opportunity."
Jones' decision came down to Greensboro and Methodist University, another DIII program located in North Carolina. Jones decided to go with Greensboro because of the size of the school.
"Greensboro is a smaller school, and I really like that environment," said Jones, who started to receive a lot of interest from Greensboro after the first of year. "I think that will suit me better."
The opportunity to get early playing time would seem to be there for Jones. Greensboro, which is a member of the USA South Athletic Conference, went just 1-9 overall last season and was 0-7 in conference play. The fewest points the Pride allowed in a game was 28, doing that twice.
Jones, who was selected to The Sumter Item All-Area team, had 54 tackles and two interceptions for the Gators, who went 3-6 last year.
Lakewood defensive coordinator Rodney Peebles believes Jones' work ethic will carry him far.
"Javontae' is one of those athletes who is going to know what to do, and do what the coaches ask him to do," Peebles said. "He tried to get better every time he stepped out there.
"He was our free safety, so he was like the quarterback of our defense," Peebles added. "He was great at calling out signals and knowing where everybody needed to be."
Lakewood head coach Larry Cornelius, Jones' head coach his final two years, talked about his flexibility.
"Javontae' played every position on offense and defense for us except on the lines," Cornelius said. "Plus, he was on all of the special teams. He was just a very valuable player."
Bryan Brown, who was the boys basketball head coach during Jones' time at Lakewood, praised Jones for his approach on and off the field, no matter the sport.
"I have a soft spot for Javontae' because it's hard to find kids like him," Brown said. "He's a model student, he's a leader. He's done a lot for the school and the athletic program."
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