Scott Takes High Road to Success at Jax State
By Dennis Victory
The Decatur Daily
Reprinted here in its entirety.
|Austin High graduate John Scott was selected
as a permanent team captain of the Jacksonville State football team this week. Scott also received his degree in recreation administration Friday.
The circuitous and sometimes trying road of John Scott's life
meandered aimlessly until settling on a point at Jacksonville State
life experiences remain for the former Austin football star and current
Gamecocks senior, but Friday's activities in Jacksonville will forever
remain a push-pin memory on Scott's life path.
one of three permanent captains for the Gamecocks' upcoming football
season, Scott was surprised to see his photo on the cover of the school
media guide released during Thursday's media day luncheon.
Not surprising and even more satisfying, Scott picked up his bachelor's degree during a commencement ceremony later in the day.
"This is one of the biggest things that has happened to me," Scott said.
"I think when it's all said and done, where I came from, this is something I can tell my kids about."
6-foot-2, 290-pound nose guard is one of only four defensive starters
returning for the Gamecocks and should anchor the defensive line.
sitting out his first year at Jacksonville State because of academic
ineligibility, Scott has played in 31 of 33 games in the past three
seasons and earned a full-time starting role last year as a junior.
Scott's journey to Jacksonville State started in Yonkers, N.Y., growing up
hard when his father left when Scott was still a young child.
His biggest influence, older brother Jason Tennison, chose a dark, but well-worn path of drugs and mayhem selected
by many in Scott's neighborhood.
Scott's mother, Paulette Tennison, saw the teenager emulating his older
brother, she changed the course, moving to Decatur where Tennison had
spent the first four years of her life.
Scott enrolled at Austin as a sophomore and played football his final two years for the Black Bears.
He earned honorable mention all-state both years and also helped Austin to a regional championship in basketball.
Grades were never a priority for Scott.
enrolled at Jacksonville State as a Prop 48 signee, forfeiting his
first season. Jacksonville coach Jack Crowe first noticed Scott the
next year during strenuous preseason two-a-day workouts.
athletic Scott was unaccustomed to the type of work needed to excel at
the college level, succeeding in high school on skill and talent. Tired
and distraught during the arduous schedule, Scott almost quit several
friend and former Austin teammate Juwan Simpson, who faced similar
travails at Alabama, helped, but Scott still struggled.
"He first came in here, when he reached the point of fatigue, he would quit," Crowe said.
"He didn't respond, didn't have the mental toughness needed. To his credit, he figured out real quick what some guys
never figure out."
Crowe gradually became a fan as Scott took the understanding to another level, especially his play last year.
suffered what most believed was a season-ending ankle injury against
Chattanooga in the Gamecocks' ninth game of the season.
He missed the Samford game, but came back to play well in the final contest against Eastern Illinois.
"That's what defines people," Crowe said "That's the kind of thing you remember in this game."
never considered college growing up in Yonkers, and Friday's graduation
ceremony embodied hope when those around him saw mostly despair. His
success motivated brother Jason Tennison into moving to Decatur where
he's doing well with his own family.
The 21-year-old Scott hopes to play football at the professional level, but wants to use his
degree in recreation administration to own a youth
He'll soon start working toward a master's degree in special education.
love kids," Scott said. "Younger kids look up to you, and if they see
you doing well, that's an inspiration to them. I really didn't have
that growing up.
See story at The Decatur Daily's website: www.decaturdaily.com
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