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Two GHS seniors ink scholarships

GHS seniors Ja’Quan Smith (seated second from the left) and Jaquaun Lewis (seated second from the right) signed scholarships to Carson-Newman University and the University of West Alabama respectively on National Signing Day.

GHS seniors Ja’Quan Smith (seated second from the left) and Jaquaun Lewis (seated second from the right) signed scholarships to Carson-Newman University and the University of West Alabama respectively on National Signing Day.

Two of Greenville’s brightest stars will get to shine on a different stage come this fall.

Ja’Quan Smith and Jaquaun Lewis committed to the University of West Alabama and Carson-Newman University respectively on National Signing Day.

The dynamic duo made the Tigers’ secondary a no-fly zone throughout the 2015 season, limiting their opponents to just over 13 points per game.

Smith, crowned the Tigers’ most valuable defensive player at the GHS athletic banquet, led the Tigers with 95 tackles (10 for a loss), 3 interceptions (1 returned for a touchdown) and 3 forced fumbles.

Greenville head football coach Josh McLendon said that the pair was invaluable, and they leave some sizeable cleats to fill.

“We had a lot of seniors on defense, but they were those guys on the back end that you really didn’t have to worry about,” McLendon said.

“They were the No. 1 and No. 2 leading in tackles on the team, and they’re just two good senior guys with a good understanding of the defense and what their roles were.  They’re going to be missed, for sure.”

The duo was respected not just for athleticism, but also for their less tangible qualities.

“I was really proud of Jaquaun Lewis—I thought he was a good leader, and he worked really hard,” McLendon said.

“Ja’Quan Smith probably was the captain of the defense, I would say.  He was one of those guys that didn’t say a whole lot, but he led by example.  He worked hard in the weight room and the classroom, and out of the two or three captains that we had, he was the one we really looked to and felt comfortable knowing he was going to do what he was supposed to do.”

Their roles aren’t expected to change much at the next level.  McLendon suspects that Lewis’ athleticism will continue to be an asset for West Alabama in multiple phases of the game, including on defense as a safety/cornerback and on special teams.

Smith will likely reprise his role as a safety.

Their work ethic and leadership make Smith and Lewis prime candidates for success at the next level, according to McLendon.

“These guys have been looking forward to this since middle school,” McLendon said.

“It’s been a dream of theirs since they started playing, so it’s nice to see them be rewarded for what they’ve done on and off the field.  They’re well deserving, I couldn’t be happier and I can’t wait to see what they’re going to do in the next few years.”