Every player has their own and unique path to make it to the next level.
Goose Creek (SC) junior offensive tackle Javon Kinlaw has the size and talent to excel on the gridiron. What separates him from others is his determination and drive to provide for his family one day. The journey to where he got today hasn’t been the greatest, but he has set his sights on becoming a college football player and earning that college degree.
“I've faced a lot of things growing up,” Kinlaw told BadgerNation. “I used to live in Washington DC with my mom and we always had it hard. There was a lot of killing going on where I come from. You can see people getting killed and no one calls the police. I've seen someone die in the streets and it didn't affect me because I’m numb to things like that I've seen it so much. My mom has struggled with jobs and she can't get a good job like normally because she is not from America. My brother couldn't go to college because he's not from America. I’m the only one from here.
“It’s like a burden I carry around knowing that I have to make it, so that they won’t have to struggle. I live with my dad and he is all I have and without him, I would have nothing. When I get a scholarship it’s like a dream come true. My past isn't what I want for my future.”
One school that has caught Kinlaw’s attention is Wisconsin. The Badgers dipped into Goose Creek High School last season and got a verbal commitment from three-star tailback Caleb Kinlaw. And while the two aren't directly related, Javon Kinlaw sees potential for himself with the program.
“I’m interested in them a lot,” said Kinlaw. “It would be nice to take a trip there and see the stadium. I like the cold. It just seems like I could become a great player there. I feel like I would fit in at Wisconsin. If they offered me, it would mean a lot. I’m a type of guy who comes from not a whole lot. To me an offer is like another way of saying I can get close to my dream. I know I’m not going get to college by paying, so I play sports the best way I can.”
The 6-7, 260-pound lineman is the No. 15 ranked offensive tackle in the nation and a four-star recruit by Scout.com. He holds one offer at the moment from South Carolina, but is hearing from Clemson, Florida State, North Carolina, North Carolina State and UCLA .
While Kinlaw is working to transform his life, he has been toning up his body to prove he has what it takes to succeed and show people the new and improved tackle. Already having lost 25 pounds since last season, Kinlaw is confident that he’ll be moving around faster and better than ever before.
"All this is just overwhelming with my recruiting process,” said Kinlaw. “All I want to do now is play football. I've been going to summer workouts and I’m playing basketball to stay in shape. I’m just going to be a whole different guy from last season. I’m going to be a much hungrier player. I’ve gotten a motor from basketball season, so I don’t want to step off the field. Everything I have dealt with in life, I take every bit of it out on the football field. When I get on the field I play with an attitude but I’m still under control.”