This past season Jalen Stevens lined up at defensive end and linebacker for the Goose Creek Gators. The results were definitely positive as they ended up winning the AAAA Division 2 state championship. This year was extra special for Stevens as he dedicated his junior season to his grandmother who passed away during the playoffs over a year ago. Stevens made good on his promise to his grandmother coming up victorious at Clemson against Greenwood. He sat down with SCPrepNation.com recently to talk about the emotional journey he had this past season and what his plans are moving forward regarding his recruitment.
So having made it to the state championship game in Clemson against Greenwood there was plenty going on with Stevens prior to, during, and after the matchup in regards to his emotions.
"Before the game I was focused and ready to go. During the game I missed a couple of sacks, but you set the edge and they stopped running the toss sweep. After the game I cried cause I made it to where I wanted to be with my team in Death Valley and left with a victory. All this year was for my grandma now it's time to get some offers and make my mom proud with a full scholarship."
Stevens' junior season was strong statistically en route to the state championship.
"I had 76 tackles, 7 tackles for loss, 9 sacks, 1 touchdown, 2 forced fumbles, 1 touchdown fumble recovery for 76 yards, 2 pass break ups, 11 pressures, and 8 big hits."
The talented junior talked about the areas of his game that he felt improved the most since the start of his junior season.
"I improved on my size, strength, first step, and just being more physical. It was hard to get me down or block me and my pass rush was superb. And now it's time to raise the bar even higher at middle linebacker!"
"We are gonna work out butt off this off season! Because we have key back ups that were just as good as our starters and we will repeat, if we are dedicated and ready to put in hard work everyday. I'm going to set the bar high this season coming up to make over 150 tackles."
Going up against guys like Smalls and Tramel Terry everyday in practice proved to be invaluable to Stevens' progress.
"It was a challenge to go against those two everyday in practice, Tramel is returning and he is gonna make me better when I drop back in coverage."
Moving now primarily to linebacker the 2013 prospect talked about what areas he'll try to improve heading towards his senior season.
"The areas I plan on working on are my speed with me running track, taking my physicality to another level, me knocking somebody out, learn all my keys with no problem whatsoever, my vision to break on the ball for picks, tackling, and speed when I'm blitzing."
Stevens has a number of schools showing strong interest currently and he talked about the very latest regarding his recruitment. The 6'3 216 pound prospect says he wants to hit the road and see plenty of schools this offseason.
A trio of schools have really made a strong statement early on by recruiting Stevens harder than other schools to this point he says.
"South Carolina, Connecticut, and Georgia Tech are recruiting me the hardest right now."
Having lined up at defensive end and now at middle linebacker will it matter to Stevens where he plays on the next level?
"I don't care where I line up at, as long as I have an impact on the game. I want to be able to make big plays and have fun doing it. Whoever uses me best in the system at linebacker will help me make my decision."
Stay tuned to SCPrepNation.com for more updates with Jalen Stevens and other top prospects here in the Palmetto State!
2013 LB JALEN STEVENS