Briarwood has three commit to schools

Published 2:52 pm Monday, February 8, 2016

From left, Josh Brower, RJ Jennings and Carter Bankston pose for a picture on National Signing Day. (Reporter Photo / Baker Ellis)

From left, Josh Brower, RJ Jennings and Carter Bankston pose for a picture on National Signing Day. (Reporter Photo / Baker Ellis)

By BAKER ELLIS / Sports Editor

NORTH SHELBY – Briarwood had three athletes sign with three different colleges to continue their athletic careers at the next level. Carter Bankston signed with the Naval Academy to join their football team on the defensive line, RJ Jennings signed with Lindsey Wilson out of Kentucky to play linebacker, and Josh Brower signed with Covenant College out of Tennessee, where he will join their soccer team.

Both Bankston and Jennings were three-year starters for Fred Yancey and the Lions, and have been at Briarwood since kindergarten while Brower came to Briarwood as a senior from Florida. Bankston finished his senior season with 31 solo tackles, 39 assists, two forced fumbles, four sacks and 8.5 tackles for loss. Jennings also had 99 total tackles, 55 of which were solos, 11 tackles for loss, three forced fumbles, three picks and one sack as well. Both were represented on the All-Shelby County teams and helped the Lions knock off Fort Payne in the first round of the 6A state playoffs this season.

“Over the years I remember specifically seeing both of them when they were in seventh and eighth grade,” Yancey, Briarwood’s long time head football coach, said in regard to his two graduating seniors. “When I got to coach them they were starters from the get-go. But I also realized that they both really were about the team and their friends. They want to make Briarwood look good and handle themselves with competitive class.”

Bankston joins a small number of Briarwood players who have gone to play for one of the service academies, and has wanted to play for Navy since he was a junior.

“I was aware for two years that Carter wanted to go to the Naval Academy,” Yancey said. “That was a mutual admiration deal. They really liked his size, speed, grades and desire.”

Jennings on the other hand was one of the large majority of high school students who did not know where he wanted to go to school that early. Yancey believes Jennings is landing at a school with an abundance of local talent.

“Lindsey Wilson in particular is getting good athletes from around here, they’ve found a little honey pot of talent in this area,” Yancey said.

Brower is the new kid on the block at Briarwood. The senior has not played soccer at Briarwood yet, as he just came to the school this season. Brower spent the last two years in Jupiter, Fla., but spent the seven years before that in Chattanooga, Tenn., which is where Covenant is located. His father, Dr. Shawn Brower, is the new principal of the high school as well as the new boys soccer coach. He played college soccer at Geneva College in Pennsylvania and is such doubly qualified to talk about his son’s achievements on the pitch.

“He had 92 goals in his first three years, so he can put the ball in the back of the net,” Brower said. “I’m extremely proud of him. He has surpassed me as a player and in many ways I admire and even look up to his discipline and character and drive.”

The younger Brower will most likely play in the middle of the field during his only season as a Lion before heading off to join the collegiate ranks.