Peacock county’s MVP
Jamari Peacock, 18, leaves big shoes to fill at Yulee High School. The recent graduate is on campus at the University of Virginia, preparing for spring football with the Cavaliers.
“I’ll miss him a lot,” said Brandon Kline, junior quarterback at Yulee. “He’s super strong, always working out, always working hard. I would hate to tackle him.”
Peacock was Kline’s go-to guy last fall. The 6-foot, 235-pound running back rushed for 1,866 yards and scored 33 touchdowns on the ground for the Hornets. He also threw a touchdown pass.
“It was always fun playing with him because he never shows emotion,” Kline said. “He’s always calm. Having him makes me feel more confident because he’s so good. He was never cocky. He would help other kids, coach other kids.”
Peacock and Kline are both members of the 2016 all-Nassau County football team. Peacock is the team’s most valuable player. He was also the 5A player of the year in Northeast Florida and was named first team all-state after his stellar senior season.
“Jamari’s had a great career here,” said Bobby Ramsay, head coach at Yulee. “He evolved into a feature back over the course of four years.
“I told college coaches who came by to evaluate him that he was the player that, if we had a workout at 3 a.m. on a Wednesday, he would be there at 2:55 ready to go. To maximize your ability, that’s the kind of mentality you have to have. He’s set a great example for the players coming in behind him. We’re excited about what he can accomplish at Virginia.”
Peacock didn’t end up in Yulee by choice. After moving to Fernandina Beach from Miami, Peacock said his bus went to Yulee.
“That’s the only reason I’m here right now,” Peacock said Dec. 23, his last day as a student at Yulee and a week after playing in an all-star game in The Villages with fellow Division I recruits from Florida.
He got his start in the sport in Fernandina Beach, playing Pop Warner for Coach Roy Byrd.
“He’s probably like the guy I can say who got me started loving football, besides my family,” Peacock said. “Him coaching me really made me fall in love with it. It’s been fun years of football.”
Going to Yulee may not have been his choice but staying in Yulee was.
“I can remember going to a couple of weightlifting meets my freshman year, and coaches trying to get me to go there,” Peacock said of area coaches trying to woo him away from Yulee. He chose to stay put.
“If he did, I can do it too,” Peacock said of former Yulee standout Derrick Henry, the 2015 Heisman Trophy winner.
Peacock was back on campus at Yulee High School Jan. 13, celebrating his signing with Virginia with his coaches and teammates. He returned to Charlottesville, where he’s enrolled in classes and trying to find his niche with the Cavaliers.
“At Virginia, you have to earn everything,” he said. “Right now, I’m just trying to earn my right to practice through workouts. You have to earn practice time; you have to earn game time to be able to practice in the spring.”
Peacock’s also trying to acclimate himself to the cold, snowy winters in the mountains.
“I’m prepared,” he said. “I’ve been hearing a lot about the cold weather. I’d rather be extra hot than extra cold so I’ve got a lot of coats and pants.”
Peacock was an honor student and member of the Beta Club while at Yulee. He was also a standout weightlifter, competing three years for the Hornets lifters. He placed fifth in the state his junior season.
All-County Team Stats:
The 2016 all-Nassau County football team includes:
• Jamari Peacock, senior, running back, Yulee. The county’s most valuable player was also named first team all-state after rushing for 1,866 yards and scoring 33 touchdowns for the Hornets. He also threw for a TD. Peacock graduated early and is attending the University of Virginia on an athletic scholarship.
• Matt Holland, senior offensive lineman, Hilliard. The 6-foot-3, 285-pound lineman will play for Elon University in the fall.
• Ayden Havener, senior punter, West Nassau. Havener was named first team all-state after recording 806 yards in punts on 21 kicks. He also rushed once for 18 yards and received three times for a total of 69 yards.
• Elliott Miller, senior quarterback and defensive back, Fernandina Beach. He was the team MVP for the Pirates and accounted for 21 tackles and 14 assists, intercepted four passes and recovered a fumble on defense; offensively, he completed 38 of 92 passes for 655 yards and four TDs.
• Quinn Coxwell, senior running back and wing back, West Nassau. Coxwell played in just eight games for the Warriors due to an injury. He rushed for 563 yards on 73 carries, scoring four touchdowns and received 10 times for 168 total yards and one touchdown. He also ran three successful conversions. This is his second appearance on the all-county team.
• Anton Rauls, junior offensive and defensive lineman, Yulee. Rauls made the all-district and all-First Coast teams at offensive lineman.
• Armani Scott, senior running back, Hilliard. Scott had 242 carries for 1,567 yards and scored 19 touchdowns for Hilliard this season. This is his third appearance on the all-county team.
• Walker Bean, junior tight end and defensive end, Fernandina Beach. Bean had 30 solo tackles and 20 assists, six sacks, five tackles for a loss, two recovered fumbles and a batted pass at DE. On offense, he reeled in nine passes for 324 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
• Kyler Crosby, junior running back, West Nassau. Crosby rushed 202 times for 1,062 total yards and nine touchdowns and received once for 11 yards. He also ran four successful conversions for the Warriors.
• Brannon Beverly, junior linebacker, Yulee. He had a team-high 81 tackles for the Hornets.
• Brandon Wilkes, senior offensive lineman, Hilliard. The 6-foot-3, 300-pound lineman recently played in the North American Championships in Orlando.
• Walker Wright, junior quarterback, West Nassau. Wright completed 43 passes for 721 yards and 10 touchdowns. He also rushed 112 times for 682 total yards, scoring seven touchdowns. Wright also ran four successful conversions.
• Brandon Kline, junior quarterback, Yulee. Kline completed 57 of 111 passing attempts for 723 yards and four touchdowns. He also rushed 65 times for 295 yards for a 4.7-yard average and scored a TD on the ground.
• Lorenzo Morgan, senior defensive back, Hilliard. Defensively, Morgan made 43 tackles, had an interception for a touchdown and five pass breakups. He also played on offense for the Flashes, recording 288 yards rushing, 105 yards receiving and tallying 357 return yards.
• Austin Painter, senior defensive end, West Nassau. Painter made 65 tackles, including one for loss for the Warriors. He had two sacks for 13 yards loss, deflected three points and recovered a fumble.
• Jordan Richo, sophomore linebacker, Yulee. He had 80 tackles this season for the Hornets.
• Brady Stockard, senior linebacker and running back, Fernandina Beach. After missing his first two games with a knee injury, Stockard returned to help anchor the defense with 41 tackles, 10 assists, 2.5 sacks and 7.5 tackles for a loss. Offensively, he had five catches for 22 yards and six rushes for another 25. He was the team’s top special teams player.
• Keshawn Davis, senior linebacker, Hilliard. Davis recorded 67 tackles, three forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and seven sacks for the Flashes.
• Steven Mogavero, junior offensive and defensive lineman, Yulee. He was named the team’s most valuable lineman and was also named to the all-First Coast team.
• Levi Mumford, junior linebacker, West Nassau. Mumford made 76 tackles for the Warriors, including one for loss. He also had six sacks for a total of 50 yards, two interceptions and one point deflected.
• Matthew Brown, senior offensive guard and linebacker, Fernandina Beach. He won the team defensive production award and was in on nearly every snap at OG for the Pirates. He had 39 tackles and 28 assists, one quarterback sack and a forced fumble. At guard, he had 11 knockdown blocks.
• Carlos Thomas, junior defensive and offensive lineman, Yulee. Thomas recorded 59 tackles last fall.
• Dayne DiMaria, junior linebacker, West Nassau. DiMaria made 66 tackles for the Warriors, deflected points nine times and had a fumble recovery.
• Jacob Waters, senior offensive lineman, Hilliard. He played at center and was a true leader on his team, according to Coach Zack Whittenburg.
• Will Tharpe, junior kicker and linebacker, West Nassau. Tharpe averaged 84.6 percent on points after touchdowns, successfully kicking the extra point on 11 of 13 attempts. Defensively, he made 53 tackles for the Warriors and recovered one fumble.
• Austin Thomas, senior defensive lineman, Yulee. Thomas had 61 tackles, 10.5 for a loss, in his final season with the Hornets.
Honorable Mention: Clay Ricketson, Elijah Eckles, Landon Howard, Cole Johns, Denver Luce, Hilliard; Wyatt Johnson, Colby Cowart, Brice Burnsed, West Nassau; Joe Lupone, David Stevens, Aaron Golding, Ty Herring, Clay Gaines, Justin Norris,
Troy Vargas, Eddie Tur-vey, Nick Vanlennep, Spencer Cutajar, Fernan-dina Beach; Maurice Moore, Gelique Williams, McKenzie Lewis, Yulee.