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February 6, 2002
Junior of the Year: Demetris Summers
Lexington High School (SC) junior Demetris Summers already possesses a football career that has surpassed accomplishments many players only dream of.
And he still has another year to play before he takes his game to the collegiate level.
At 6-foot-2, 215-pounds, Summers is one of the top running backs in the country, and has been since his freshman season. He is Rivals100.com's selection for National Junior of the Year.
"I knew that kid was special the first day he carried the ball at a practice as an eighth grader," said Lexington Coach Jimmy Satterfield, who coached a national champion Furman team before retiring from the college rankss.
"And he's turned into the best football player I've ever coached."
This past season, Summers rushed for 2,329 yards and 39 touchdowns. He has rushed for more than 6,500 yards in three seasons, has an 10-yards per carry average.
Oh yeah, last season he set the new career touchdown mark in South Carolina at 104, breaking the old record of 88.
If he gains just 65 yards in 2002, he will also set a new career rushing record for the state, and be on his way to national records.
"I'm not really concerned with the records," Summers said. "If I do my job for this team then all that will come. But the first thing we have to take care of, is getting this team back into the championship game."
Getting to championship games is something this athlete knows about. Also a top basketball prospect, he started as a freshman for the Class 4A state basketball championship team.
He was also an integral part of the football team's run to the South Carolina Big 16 Championship game in 2000.
In order to get back to that championship, Summers, who is already considered to be perhaps the top prospect in the country, is more interested in getting better than he already is.
But how does an athlete with the prowess that he possesses better himself?"I'm not perfect," he said. "I want to do some things different. I haven't been much of a weight room guy over my entire career, but I took an inventory of myself and realize that to better myself, I've got to do some things I haven't done in the past.
"If that means motivating myself to get in the weight room and do the extra work, then that's what it will be."
Bettering himself will only increase his stock on the recruiting market. And the heat is already on in that department.
His mailbox is often filled with envelopes bearing the names of prestigious universities with powerhouse football programs, such as Florida State, Michigan, Florida, Miami to name a few. But this mature junior athlete is prepared for the battle that will encompass him.
"I've just got to stay focused," he said. "I'm determined not to get distracted by the recruiting stuff going on. I know its going to be heavy, but my goals are for the team to succeed and that is what I will stay focused on."
Jim Baxter is the editor of SCVarsity.com, the source for high school coverage in the state of South Carolina.