Johnson, Thomas motivated to play at the next level
by LAVONTE YOUNG
LINCOLN- The Lincoln Golden Bears football program has been known for producing Division I football players over the last five years with DJ Howard signing with Clemson and Jonathan George signing with Kentucky. Lincoln has a pair of linemen in Shedrick Thomas and Jauntavius Johnson that look to add to that list.

The linemen have caught the attention of several scouts at Jacksonville State and Auburn camps this summer.

Johnson, a junior, has an offer from Auburn; he has received interest from Alabama, Ole Miss and Jacksonville State University.

“It is basically off the way we performed last year and going to camps and performing,” Johnson said. “I never thought I would come this far and to see myself succeed. This makes me want to go hard each and every day.”

Thomas earned Alabama Sports Writers Association first team All-State honors, has an offer from JSU and he has received interest from Auburn. The senior said getting offers has pushed him to work even harder during the off-season.

“Colleges make me go harder,” Thomas said. “This is my dream and you have to go hard if you want to accomplish your dream.”

Another driving force for Thomas is trying to make life better for his family.

“Struggling makes me go hard,” Thomas said. “I think about my mom and that makes me want to go even harder. It is my last year, so it is either go hard or go home.”

Lincoln’s first year head coach Brad Wallace believes that getting scholarship offers has pushed Thomas and Johnson to work harder this off-season.

“They are working hard,” Wallace said. “Those two young men are competing everyday. That’s our leadership on our team and they are taking it to another level. We are trying to break mentalities and they are taking it in stride. They went to every camp that they have gone to and they have really shown out. Coaches have consistently talked about how they go down and do their business and get things done. They are a symbol of Lincoln High School, so that’s what I am real proud of right now.”

Last season, Thomas was dominant on the offensive line as he averaged three pancakes per game. Thomas has worked out twice a day for the last few months so he can make his pancake average increase.

“I want to make pancakes,” Thomas said. “I like being nasty and aggressive. This year, I plan on going over 30, probably over that.”

Johnson plays offensive and defensive tackle for the Golden Bears. The 6-foot-4, 310-pound lineman has offers as defensive tackle. Last season, he recorded 29 total tackles and he had three tackles for a loss of yardage. Johnson knows that he has several areas of his game that he is going to have to improve on going into the season.

“I have to make more plays in the back field,” Johnson said. “That is what I think I have to do and get more sacks.”

Wallace is impressed with what he saw on tape from both players last season.

“I have watched Shed on tape from last year and I have watched Big D on tape from last year,” Wallace said. “They are going to be the dominating offensive line that could be here year in and year out. I really think those guys have taken the leadership role along with a few others. They really take it as theirs and they are on the field for one reason and one reason only: that’s to get better and dominate their opponents every time. That’s what we are preaching to them every week. They have to learn to dominate their opponents every time they take the field.”

The linemen compete against each other everyday in practice. Thomas said both players push each other during practice and drills to make each other better.

“We come out even sometimes,” Thomas said. “We go hard each play, so we can make each other better.”

The Golden Bears have most of their core players back on both sides of the ball from last season’s team that went 6-6 and made the second round of the Alabama High School Athletic Association Class 4A playoffs. Thomas and the Golden Bears have high expectations going into the season.

“We have been planning on going all the way,” Thomas said. “We set our limit to 9-1 through the regular season and 5-0 in the playoffs. We have some high expectations.”

Contact LaVonte Young at lyoung@dailyhome.com

Follow him on Twitter @LYoung_DHSports.





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