Two Sides of Jamoris Slaughter

Defensive back Jamoris Slaughter has always had somewhat of a split personality. On one hand, he's very calm, cool and patient, but on the other hand, he's quick, fierce and highly competitive. Slaughter's ability to maximize both sides of his personality has propelled him to great heights both in the classroom and on the football field.

From the day he was born, Jamoris Slaughter showed one side of his personality.
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"It went fast," said Debbie Garrett, Slaughter's mother. "I went into labor around six o'clock in the morning and I had him by nine a.m. It happened pretty fast. He came three weeks early."

And shortly after his birth, his other personality started to shine. "He was a happy child," Debbie remembered. "He was always smiling. He was happy all the time. He's always been pretty social, but you have to ask him questions. He's not going to give up much information. He can be kind of quiet.

"Jamoris is pretty laid back. He keeps to himself, at least at home. Some of his friends say he gets pretty ‘krunk,' as they say in school. At home he's pretty quiet and just does what he's supposed to do. He's a great kid. We're really proud of him." Stepdad Carl Garrett saw the competitiveness in Jamoris at a very early age.

"I never saw him as being better than any of the other kids," Carl said when asked about Jamoris as a youngster playing sports. "I just saw him as a kid who really wanted to play and really wanted to win. I just saw that and thought, with that attitude, and me liking to play sports, I just tried to teach him certain things. He always kept working to get better and better."

Carl said he worked with Jamoris a great deal to help him learn the fundamentals of sports, and one day it finally paid off.

"I loved playing all kind of sports. When he finally beat me, man, he lit up," Carl recalled with a laugh. "He used to get kind of upset when I wouldn't let him win. I'd say, ‘why should I let you win when nobody else is going to let you win.' I told him when he finally beat me, he could probably beat anyone. Man, he really lit up when he finally beat me."

While Carl isn't Jamoris' natural father, he has been with Jamoris and Debbie since Jamoris was about five months old. "I just remember growing up in Texas, the men cared about the kids, and anything they knew, they'd take the time to teach us regardless of whether it was their kid or someone else's," Carl said of his upbringing. "I guess that carried over to us. I was the youngest in my family, so people were always teaching me things. They say that it takes a community to raise a kid. That was definitely true in my neighborhood. I guess you just do what you have to do. I was happy to do it."

One thing they had in common was sports, and Jamoris loved to play sports.

"I think he was four or five when he first started playing soccer," Debbie said. "We'd get him balls for Christmas, and he always wanted to play. We'd take him to the park and he'd want to play all day."

"He was always playing, always trying to get better," Carl added.

And Jamoris has always been fast.

"We had a family reunion down in Texas and there's were a bunch a kids there…probably 20 or so," said Carl. "They were running races and I told them that I had the kid that could beat them all. I told him to go out there and take them and he outran all of them. Some were much older kids. He's always been fast and could run."

It wasn't long before the Scout.com four-star prospect found an interest in football, but mom wasn't overly excited about the idea at first.

"He wanted to play," said Debbie. "He asked me if he could play. He wanted to be out there with the boys with the helmet on. He wasn't intimidated. He wasn't scared. He wanted to do it and he never wanted to quit playing.

"I was scared. Kids were getting broken arms, broken legs, I was nervous about it. I still am. I get nervous when he plays. I've really started to get into it though. Yesterday I was home all day while the others were out and I was watching football all day. That's different for me."

The Tucker, Ga. native impressed people early and often once he got on the field.

"People always thought he was really good, but you really don't know until they get up against really good competition," Debbie said. "He did pretty well. At a young age it's about having fun, but people would always tell us how good he was, and we'd be like, ‘huh?''

"I think he's very teachable," Carl said when asked what makes Jamoris a good football player. "I think he has a desire to get better, and he has the patience to listen so you can coach him or teach him. You give him the information and he can take that and put it out on the field. He's also got the ability to relax. He doesn't get excited. Like a big game, I'd probably be up all night and can't sleep. It doesn't bother him at all."

Friends and family weren't the only people to notice Slaughter's talent. After his junior season, where the defensive back recorded 66 tackles and four interceptions, plenty of schools started to notice and offer him a scholarship.

"We were excited. It was a big deal at first," Debbie said. "At first they started sending stuff at the school, and then we filled out the questionnaires and then it came to our house. It was really exciting."

"I think it might've been Vanderbilt. I think it was this past February," she said of Jamoris' first offer. "I know Georgia came a little later. We were really excited. I told him earlier that the first scholarship offer he got, that's where he was going because we didn't want to waste an opportunity if he got one. We had no idea that he'd get that many offers. We were really excited but sort of nervous. We have really high expectations for all our kids, but it was kind of neat to see so many schools see that in Jamoris."

Early in the process a small school from Indiana also got into the mix.

"I knew it was a big deal, but I didn't know it was as big of a deal as it is until I started doing more research on Notre Dame," said Debbie when asked about Notre Dame offering her son. "I knew it was a good education, but I really didn't follow them until Jamoris got an offer. I knew it was a great school to go to, and to get a degree from there would be the best thing in the world.

"When his coach told us we didn't really think that much about it. Once he got an offer, we were like, ‘wow!' Then once the offer came, I was shocked. The whole thing was so grand, the way it was put together. I was like, ‘this is so impressive.'"

But the soon-to-be senior in high school wasn't initially that impressed with Notre Dame.

"Jamoris had an idea of some of the other schools he wanted to go to," Debbie recalled. "He came to me after the offer and talked to me and said he wasn't sure if Notre Dame was the school for him. I told him he had plenty of time to take some visits and not to make decisions now until he's had time to investigate things. When he got an opportunity to go up for the spring game, I think it just blew his mind. He was all excited about it."

Mom was also very impressed with Notre Dame and the Irish jumped to the front of the pack on her wish list after the visit.

"I was very impressed," said Debbie of Notre Dame. "You have to go and see it. You can't just look it up on the internet and read about it. You just have to be there to experience it. I loved the campus. Everything is so well kept. Everyone is so nice. They welcome you. They made us feel like you're the center of attention, and I know that's part of recruiting, but you just feel like what they're telling you is true."

Luckily for the Irish, Jamoris also felt the same.

"He just came to me one night and said he was ready to make his decision," said Debbie. "I wasn't sure what he was going to say, but I knew where we wanted him to go, but he just came out and told me that is where he wanted to go and he was ready to make that call. I was really excited." Carl was also very happy with his son's decision.

"We know that he'll get to play Division I football, but we also are excited that he'll get the chance to get a degree from Notre Dame," Carl said. "There's still a lot of work ahead.

"We've just tried to instill in him that playing football is a privilege. You're one play away from it being over. The education is the most important thing, and whatever happens on the field happens."

Not all people in the state of Georgia were happy with Slaughter's decision to play for Notre Dame, but Debbie said those that approach her have been very complimentary.

"Most people are very congratulatory and very excited," she said. "They all tell us they're so proud of him and that he made a great choice. They tell us they're going to follow him and watch him. Most people are really excited for him." Carl, always the teacher, constantly reminds Jamoris that there are still things left to do to accomplish all of his goals.

"We're really happy for him and we're very proud," he said. "He's the guy who has to go out there and perform and make the plays. We have the easy part. The whole thing has been a lot of fun, and we're excited to watch him once he gets to Notre Dame, but there's still a whole lot of work to get done, and we're just trying to make sure he knows that. He's a good kid. We know he'll do the job."


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