the MaN iN the MiDDle oN DefeNse
LaMonT gaiLLaRD DiDn’T s TaRT his FooTBaLL career until he was in the seventh grade due to the maximum weight limits in Fayetteville’s youth football eagues.
Now, the 6-foot- 3, 310-pound defensive tackle has plenty
of college coaches knocking down his door in hopes he’ll play
for them at the next level. Gaillard was the lynchpin of the Pine
Forest defense last season, recording 108 tackles, including
seven for a loss, and four sacks from the nose tackle position.
“It took time to get to this point,” Gaillard said. “I was a bit
shaky when I started on varsity my freshman year. I got used
to it my sophomore year. I’ve gotten a little better each year.”
Gaillard has worked hard in the weight room to build
strength and endurance and also spent extra time on the
practice field developing his technique.
“I had to learn to use my hands, my hip movement,” Gaillard
explained. “I had to get off the ball stronger and quicker – just
Gaillard’s ascent to one of the top defensive tackles in the
country has been quick. He was starting as a high school
freshman less than two years after setting foot on a field for
the first time. In the two years since, Gaillard has received
offers from over 20 Division I schools.
“I’m motivated by seeing other players work harder,” Gail-
lard said. “I get motivated to push myself and be the leader
that I am.”
featherstoN takes Pass-rushiNg to
Ne W heights
aT FiRs T gLance, LoRenzo Fea TheRs Ton has the look of a power forward in basketball. He’s 6-foot- 7, 215 pounds and has the athleticism to dunk a basketball when jumping from a stand-still.
But Featherston’s sport of choice is football and based on
the recent surge of scholarship offers that have come the
defensive end’s way, he made the right choice.
“I’ve been playing football all my life,” Featherston noted.
“I’ve always been a natural. I started as a receiver, then I
moved to safety and eventually I put a hand on the ground.”
Featherston’s height was certainly the biggest factor in his
move to the defensive line, but he has proven to have natural
instincts for making plays. Last season, he had 58 tackles
– 15 for a loss – and two sacks while leading Page to the 4A
Metro Conference title.
“It didn’t take any time for me to adjust to the speed of the
high school game,” Featherston said. “The biggest thing was
adjusting to the locker room. I started right away as a fresh-
man, and I just took it from there.”
Featherston admits that if he stays at defensive end in col-
lege, he’ll likely have to add at least 30 pounds to his lean,
long frame. He’s willing to make the sacrifice in order to stay
at the position he dominates in high school.
“It’s my will to go get the ball,” he said. “It’s a natural read
and react type deal, and I know I can do it at the next level.”