Shaun Wimberly Jr. having another stellar season
Shaun Wimberly Jr. had a great season in 2013, winning the Duel in July and quarterbacking the Louisville Patriots to a Juice Bowl appearance at the end of the year.
For an encore, he is having an even better season in 2014.
A seventh grader, Wimberly is quarterbacking the eighth-grade team at Johnson Traditional Middle School this year. Not only is he stepping up in class, the 5-foot-6, 118-pounder is playing for a Jaguars team that hasn’t had very much success in recent years.
This year, Johnson Traditional is in the playoffs with a 7-2 record, and with 4 more wins the Jaguars will be the Kentucky state champions. That is the obvious aim for Wimberly.
“Our goal is to get the state championship,” he said. “Last year, I didn’t play for this team, but they didn’t win any games. And they hadn’t won any games the last three years.”
Wimberly has obviously helped turn the program around, and his numbers are eye-popping – 1,535 yards passing and 32 touchdowns. Just don’t expect the rising young star to be looking for any credit.
“I’m very proud of the season we’re having, but it isn’t just coming from me,” Wimberly said. “It’s coming from my running backs, my receivers, and especially my linemen. They give me time to hand off and they give me time to throw the ball.”
Growing up fast
Playing at a grade level higher is a difficult challenge, but Wimberly has been making it look pretty easy this season. “It’s been a very exciting stage because I had to grow up fast,” he said. “I can no longer play around, sit around at home. I had to be able to get in contact with my temmates and put the work in. There is no more Little League. This is next-level ball.”
And as the numbers clearly show, Wimberly is taking his game to the next level. “I’m very happy,” he said. “My receivers are really good, my line is really good and my offensive backfield is really good. I’m very happy, but I’m trying to stay humble and not brag too much because there are a lot of people out there attacking myself and our team.”
Wimberly started going on the attack at the Duel, when he finished third among incoming seventh graders at NFA’s showcase event in Massillon, Ohio.
“It gave me a lot of confidence,” he said. “I saw there were 20 kids out there from around the country that are doing as many things as I am. So when I get to my team, I have to do everything I can to make myself better.”
Season after season, Wimberly has been doing just that – getting better. He gives much of the credit to NFA and standout coaches like Will Hewlett, Darin Slack and Dub Maddox.
“They’ve improved my quarterback skills so much,” said Wimberly, who has been attending NFA camps for four years. “They have been phenomenal.”