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JAVON KINLAW IS A COACH’S DREAM. THE senior at Goose Creek High in Charleston, S.C., is regarded as one of the best prospects in the country. He lines up at defensive end for his team now, but
projects as an offensive lineman at the college level.
The long arms on the 6-foot- 6, 288-pound behemoth’s
frame would do well in keeping pass-rushers at bay or knock-
ing down a quarterback’s passes. But Kinlaw’s real promise
comes in the way he conducts himself.
The reason he now chips in at tight end to help out both
sides of the ball is that he sees the big picture in everything.
“I just try to help my team as much as I can,” Kinlaw said.
“It’s a headache. There’s a lot of drama on Twitter, so I’m
“And I try to be a leader. The younger guys, they look up to
me. If I’m having a bad day, everything gets thrown off. But
if I’m having a good day at practice, it really helps them.
Because they see me and they see the way they want to
conduct themselves at practice.”
Kinlaw isn’t like many other players in the country. He
keeps a low profile and stays humble. While many recruits
love the immediate gratification and attention that being on
Twitter brings, Kinlaw won’t get an account. He’s heard about
Twitter from classmates and wants no part.
not on those social media things,” Kinlaw said.
Kinlaw said he was a “chubby,” overweight lineman in
his sophomore year when his first scholarship offer arrived
from South Carolina. Then just 16 year olds, he reacted with
maturity beyond his years.
He thought about what it would mean for his family to not
have to worry about paying his way through college. Then he
got to work.
“It means so much. ... I know it’s the only way I would get
into colleges because my parents, they can’t pay that much,”
Kinlaw said. “At first I was doing [football] just because I liked
it. When the first school actually reached out to me and gave
So I started to take it serious, started to get in the weight
room more and started to be dedicated.”
The big picture started to come into focus.
“I always think about the big picture. I’m just trying to help
Basketball in the winter has helped him shed the weight
my mom out, my dad out,” Kinlaw noted. “My mom is [from
Trinidad] so she can’t do a lot of things Americans can do.”
He does something else that’s been a point of emphasis
for football coaches in recent years – he plays another sport.
he had as a sophomore and added more explosiveness.
“It just helps with my endurance, my balance, my reaction
Goose Creek – 10-2, 12-1, 13-1 and 14-1 in the last
time and stuff like that – and my stamina,” Kinlaw said. “In
basketball you’re up and down the court, where in football
you get a couple of seconds between snaps to breathe.”
Kinlaw’s season goals are simple: He wants a state
championship, wants to get double-digit sacks and catch a
few touchdown passes.
four seasons – expects a smooth transition this year with
first-year coach Chris Candor, a Goose Creek grad who was
previously the team’s defensive coordinator.
“This year we’ve really got to work hard because we lost a
lot of key players,” Kinlaw noted.
When Kinlaw lines up on offense – though this may
change this season – he doesn’t get a chance to show off his
“We’re pretty much a run team. And when I’m in, most of
the time, they don’t really run my way. I’m the backside tight
end. I’m just there,” Kinlaw said.
On defense, he is equally good against the pass or the
run. It’s where he’s most comfortable. He wouldn’t mind
playing so well on defense that college coaches could start
to imagine him on that side of the ball.
“This year I’m really trying to turn some heads and get this
offensive tackle burden off my shoulders,” Kinlaw said.
“I just want to get better all the time.”
Kinlaw Sees the Big Picture
GOOSE CREEK STAR PREFERS TO KEEP A LOW PROFILE
One published report
claimed Javon Kinlaw had
moved to South Carolina
from New York and was
a basketball player still
picking up football’s
nuances in recent years
– a late bloomer. None of
that is true, according to
Kinlaw told FNF
Magazine he’s a
Charleston native who has
been playing the game
since he was 7, and he’s
had to set a few coaches
straight on the incorrect
account of his life.
“Those people are
always saying something
wrong,” he said.
BY J. MIKE BLAKE