Faith Academy’s Shemar Jame
Photo | Tommy Hicks
Injuries are a part of football; they happen every season to every team and most every player. It’s the extent of the injury that is the biggest factor. And if a player is lost to his team because of injury, in some cases, that one player may impact offense and defense as some play multiple positions and are used on special teams as well.
In recent days, several teams in the Lagniappe coverage area have had to come to grips with injuries to key contributing members of their teams. In a few cases, the player who has been injured and will be missing from the lineup — at least for a game or two, some for the remainder of the season — is also a highly regarded college prospect.
Here are four players who have suffered injuries in recent games in the area:
Carl Fauntroy, Spanish Fort: The Toros’ safety was the quarterback of the secondary for the Class 6A contender. Fauntroy, a 6-foot-1, 180-pounder, is not only strong in pass coverage, but is a solid tackler and defensive stalwart. He is a UAB commit, but he will be lost to the Toros for the remainder of the season after suffering a torn ACL in a recent game. The three-year starter has surgery scheduled soon to repair the damage. Last season, he produced 48 tackles and had five interceptions. Opposing teams generally avoided throwing in his direction this year. His loss not only affects the football team, but the Toros’ basketball team as well. Spanish Fort made the state championship game a year ago and Fauntroy was the starting point guard. He was set to be back in that role again this season, but his injury and upcoming surgery changes those plans. His injury has forced head coach Ben Blackmon and his staff to make some adjustments to the team’s coverage in the secondary.
Shemar James, Faith Academy: The Florida commit does a little bit of everything for the Rams. While he was in limbo prior to the start of the season as to where he would play his senior season, he returned to Faith Academy, and each week he has become more and more involved with the game plan in terms of being used in other ways than his primary position at linebacker. In last week’s game against Williamson, the 6-foot-2, 215-pounder was on the field for almost every play his team had — until he injured his left ankle in the second quarter. The injury came on a 29-yard kickoff return and he did not return to the lineup. He had also been used as a receiver on offense. On the sidelines, James first had ice placed on his ankle, and later, during the second half, his ankle was tightly wrapped and he moved around the sidelines on crutches. According to head coach Jack French, the injury is more a bad sprain than a more serious injury, but as to when — or if — James will return to the lineup for the Rams, it is not known. It appears likely he definitely will not take part in this week’s game.
Sterling Dixon, Mobile Christian: Just a sophomore, Dixon is already receiving lots of recruiting attention from Power 5 programs. In fact, he posted on Twitter last weekend he had received an offer from current No. 1-ranked Georgia. Auburn, Alabama, LSU and several others are also believed to have interest in the middle linebacker/defensive end. Mobile Christian head coach Ronnie Cottrell said prior to the start of the season, Dixon was ahead of recent Leopards standout Deontae Lawson at the same point in his career; Lawson is now a member of the Alabama football team. But Dixon suffered a torn labrum early this season and only played in two games. He has already undergone surgery to repair the injury. He was a MaxPreps Freshman All-America pick a year ago when he made 89 tackles, including nine sacks. He is 6-foot-3, 205 pounds and had good speed and quickness and a knack for finding the football. His athleticism has been a key in the interest shown by college recruiters, along with his production and other previously noted factors. He is expected to make a full recovery from the injury and return to the Leopards’ team next season for his junior year.
Braden Turner, McGill-Toolen: Another key prospect — Turner is a Northwestern commit — his loss is considered a difficult blow for the Yellow Jackets’ defense. Turner, much like Fauntroy, was the quarterback for the McGill-Toolen secondary and his loss is reflected not only in the loss of his athletic abilities but his leadership skills as well. The 5-foot-11, 175-pound defensive back has been a mainstay for his team all season long. He will miss the remainder of the season with a torn labrum. As with the others noted here, Turner’s contributions are not limited to the secondary. He is also used as a kick returner and had displayed those talents this season as well, giving the Yellow Jackets a big-play threat on special teams. He is noted to have “elite hands and quickness,” which served him and McGill-Toolen well during his time on the team. Those contributions will be difficult to replace. He grabbed a lot of recruiting attention last season when he made 40 tackles and collected five interceptions. While other schools expressed interest and he drew offers, Turner chose Northwestern only a week after making his official visit to the school. There, he will be reunited with friend and former Yellow Jackets teammate Jamal Mosley.
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