Reeves-Maybin will 'fight you to the death'

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Tears rolled down his face with consistency. He carried a 1,000-yard stare that fluxed from the winter sky to the dormant Bermuda.

Pain exuded from Jalen Reeves-Maybin. But, it wasn't from the pounding of playing both sides of the football for 48 minutes. It wasn't from stress of having to lead both the defense and the offense for Northeast (Tenn.) High School. It wasn't even from the torn labrum in his shoulder that would have to be surgically corrected a month later.

Reeves-Maybin was crying and in terrible pain because his prep football career was over and it stopped short of his ultimate goal — winning the TSSAA Class 5A state championship. Northeast had just lost 44-43 to eventual state champion Beech, led by Class AAA Mr. Football Jalen Hurd, in the quarterfinals.

"They're both great players," Northeast coach Isaac Shelby told InsideTennessee. "I wouldn't trade Jalen Reeves-Maybin for anyone in the state. They both did a good job. They're different in the way they do things. What we've asked Jalen to do, over four years, he's become great at."

Reeves-Maybin left it all on the Hendersonville, Tenn., turf. The senior carried the football 30 times for 337 yards with five touchdowns and tallied over 20 tackles at linebacker.

Shelby said the people of Clarksville won't soon forget Reeves-Maybin.

Coach Isaac Shelby led Northeast High to a 9-4 record in 2012..
(Danny Parker/
"I don't think it's a legacy that can be filled," the coach said. "I think this game and this season, playing with a torn labrum like that, has put him in the Clarksville legend status. You talk about great athletes from Clarksville. People talk about Shawn Marion and Trenton Hassell, Marques Maybin, Will Martin and people like that. I think he put himself in that category of those great athletes that are from Clarksville that have gone on to do great things and have great professional careers."

No one questions the toughness of the Tennessee signee. However, it's hard to illustrate to those that haven't played the game just how gut-wrenching the pain is that accompanies competing with a shoulder that is in and out of socket.

"It's ridiculous," Shelby said. "It's in and out all the time, but he's a fighter. He'll fight you to the death and that's what he did (against Beech). It's incredibly painful. We did the best we could to limit him some. In the end, he's a kid who's got to have the ball in his hands; he's just a tough kid."

The FOX Sports NEXT four-star ran for 2,081 yards on 167 carries with 28 TDs his senior season. As a passer, he completed 39 of 62 attempts for 780 yards and four more TDs. Defensively, he totaled 87 solo tackles, 41 assists and an interception.

The son of LaDawn Reeves and former Louisville basketball star Marques Maybin guided Northeast to the second round of the state playoffs his junior year before losing to another eventual champ, Henry County.

In 2011, Reeves-Maybin rushed 170 times for 1,468 yards and 31 scores, while also racking up 103 tackles.

The 6-foot-1, 200-pounder had successful surgery to repair that labrum shortly after enrolling at Tennessee in January. He isn't expected to participate in full-contact work once spring practice gets underway on March 9.

"They're getting a versatile kid that will be a four-year kid that will work the entire time there and be a positive part of that program," Shelby said. "He's just incredible to me, and he's going to go on to do great things at Tennessee. Wherever his life leads him in the end, he's going to be great because of the kind of person that he is."

Danny Parker is currently the Managing Editor, Recruiting Analyst and Staff Photographer for He was previously the sports editor at Shelbyville Times-Gazette. He joined the InsideTennessee team July 2011.

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