You want to talk about Jason's final list, narrowed down to an inviting few?
You want to discuss the schools he likes and why, thereby figuring out whether or not your team has a chance?
If you want to talk about recruiting, who's recruiting, who's sending what, when and what schools he's talked to lately; well, you might want to look someplace else.
Jason Adjepong has other things on his mind.
Well, one other thing that is.
"It's about football right now and that's what it's going to be all about until my season is over," Jason said of where his mind is nowadays. "There's a girl in my car right now and she'll tell you that when it gets around this time, there's nothing or nobody that can take me away from my team and what we have to do."
What that is, is something that you might understand as to what motivates one to be so single-minded of purpose: Go one more step beyond where they were last year.
That was in the state-finals, a
game to remember, but one Adjepong might like to forget,
Since that loss, Jason's had one thing on his mind: Payback
"We're the shark in the water this year," Jason said. "And we don't smell nothing but blood. It's feeding time on everyone and we aren't stopping until that title is ours."
There are plenty of recruits that say their final season is the most important. Heck, a good number of them postpone official visits, giving up the chance to see some collegiate gameday atmospheres, simply because it will take away from the concentration needed for their final year.
Jason is taking it one step further, though, because he's already gearing up, practicing and mentally, it might be two months away before his first game, but in is mind, he's already there.
Now, he wants no distractions.
"I'm not doing anymore interviews," Jason said. "I'm not talking to reporters. I am not talking to coaches. I am not talking to anyone that doesn't have something to do with our team winning the state title."
"That's all that matters to me and I don't care about anything or anyone that gets in the way of my team getting that done."
If you think Jason sounds serious, you're right. If you think he sounds like he's ready to rip into someone on the football field, you'd be correct. But it's not for his stats, not for the glory he would individually get from being part of a championship or even for some individual awards.
In fact, Jason would just as soon
there be nobody saying "Jason" at all, unless the rest of the team is being
mentioned in the same breath. "This team isn't about one guy or two guys or
whatever," he said. "This isn't my team, it's our team. We are
"I'm nobody without them, because it will take every one of us to get where we want to go, but if you think I am the only one that's feeling it right now, that's not right, because that's how we are all feeling right now."
There's a certain feeling that a football player or any competitor wants to feel of those he goes into competition with. It's called respect. For most teams to win, there has to be that mutual feeling almost across the board.
You've got their back, they have yours and together there's nobody standing in your way. You don't have to ask Jason about that, because he's all too familiar with that feeling, because there are a number of players on his team that he says match himself in heart any day.
"Frank Rondinone, Cedric Brown, Chris Lakatos, Nick Bandoni and the warrior of all, our quarterback Mike Collier; those are the kids that no matter what, no matter who, they are going to go out there and play like their heads were on fire," Jason said.
"They are the kind of guys that even if Ray Lewis were coming up the middle, they wouldn't think twice about hitting him."
"That's what it takes to win, that's what gets respect and that's what gets a state title. We aren't going to make this happen because I am here. We're going to make it happen because we all are and we won't settle for anything less than beating the hell out of anyone we face."
Jason was even reluctant to do this interview, probably assuming that the final written article would have been spun into a ‘he said he didn't have any favorites at this time and doesn't appear to be taking any more visits' article, thus losing the message he wanted to send.
Yes, it was about doing no more interviews, but the clearer message he sends is that if you as a fan are looking for someone that eats, lives, breaths and dies the game, you've came to the right place.
"That's all there is right now," Jason said. "Players get caught up in rankings right now, worrying about where they are at. They get caught up in conversations with schools, their girlfriend or whatever."
"Not me. I don't care about rankings, I don't care about stars, no girl is going to take me away from this and coaches are going to have to understand; this is football and we are getting ready to hit this thing right."
"If you aren't part of making that happen, you don't even exist to me. Not right now."
Not right now means not until somewhere around September, possibly November; perhaps into December. For Jason, it's unclear at this point. You've probably figured out the one thing that totally is clear to him, though.
Can you blame him? If you were in his position with the type of team he had, could you really blame Adjepong for saying to all those recruiting him and all those interested in who's recruiting him, for deciding that his senior year and his team were more important than himself?
If you once held in your hands the chance at what Adjepong has, perhaps you can empathize with how he feels. If you haven't, you probably can't, but when there's a time that any player says his team is above himself, you have to ask why you are even asking why.
Well, I'm not and I guess, nobody else is either, at least not for awhile. Or as Jason said to me before we finished our call, "I'll talk to you in September."