NASHVILLE, Tenn. – This time next year if we’re reflecting on a successful 2012 football season for Nashville’s Father Ryan High School, then we’ll also be reflecting on a successful season by its star player Jamonte Graham.
The manner in which the wins are manufactured are of no consequence. Whether Father Ryan is pitching shutouts all year or winning shootouts, Graham will be right in the middle of it. That’s because the unique athlete doesn’t often leave the field.
He’s the starting safety and he’ll likely be under center most of the year in 2012 taking most of the quarterback snaps. If he’s not at quarterback he’ll be on the receiving end of passes at wide receiver. For a rest you can find him returning punts and kickoffs.
Despite all the versatility, Graham prefers the safety position, though he wouldn’t mind a little special teams work on the side.
“I probably see myself at safety but I like to return and do punt returns too. It’s pretty exciting,” he said. “I can come down and hit and stop the pass. Safeties are basically unblockable.”
And then there’s basketball. Graham is actually waiting on his first college football offer but he’s already landed an offer in basketball from Stetson University. This offseason has actually been more busy with basketball than football, keeping a healthy dose of AAU basketball on his schedule teaming with fellow mid-state two-sport star in Ensworth’s Cornelius Elder (a Top247 athlete).
Graham is a versatile guard on the basketball court who shoulders a lot of the scoring load there too and is fully capable of taking his talents to the next level as a basketball player exclusively. However he wants to play football, though he’s not opposed to playing both. After all, he’s seen his brother do it.
Jamie Graham was a stellar football player for Vanderbilt on both sides of the ball and developed into a contributor on the basketball court for the Commodores as well. He transferred to UCLA for his final season before injuries cut short his 2011 season.
Watching his brother play at Vanderbilt helped Jamonte develop a fondness for the program, though most of his familiarity is with the previous staff.
“I was at Vanderbilt around the team and had a good relationship with the players on the team,” he said. “Coach Bobby Johnson, I had a good relationship with him and the coaches. I would go to practices and just get a feel for how a college program was. It made me want to get it even more and play college football.”
Now Graham is starting to hear some surface interest arise from the new staff.
“I met James Franklin before the season started and met (Offensive coordinator) Coach (John) Donovan and they seemed pretty cool and seemed like they’re about their business. They told me they want me to come to camp. They’re really looking at me for safety.”
Other schools that have showed some interest in Graham include Clemson, Georgia Tech, Middle Tennessee State and Kentucky. Miami is a school he hopes to hear from.
“That’s my favorite school,” he said of the Hurricanes. “I like the weather down there. They’re a pretty exciting team and every year they always do good and I always watch them.”
This summer the 6-1, 195-pounder is planning on hitting up several camps to try to raise his football stock and earn some offers. Though his basketball schedule doesn’t look to be slowing down anytime soon, Graham plans to make some time. If there’s one thing he’s proven, it’s that he certainly doesn’t need much rest.
- Start Photo Feature ▶
- Showing photos 1 - 4 of 4