Albany High’s Juwon Young, surrounded by friends and family, makes the Miami “U” sign with his hands Tuesday after signing with the Hurricanes. (Staff Photo: Tim Morse)
On one end of the table was a white Albany High School football helmet, with an orange and green “A” stuck to both sides.
On the other end of the table was a white University of Miami helmet with an orange and green “U” planted on both sides.
As Juwon Young signed his national letter-on-intent to play collegiately with the Hurricanes, he won’t have to change any of his school colors.
“It’s the same colors, just flip the ‘A’ around,” Young said Tuesday morning as family and friends watched the versatile athlete sign with the Hurricanes.
The linebacker/running back will enroll early, reporting to the school on Jan. 8 and beginning classes nearly a week later on Jan. 14.
“I really wanted to get ahead of the game academic-wise in college,” Young said. “I would rather leave (here) when I’m done, starting a new chapter. I want to start early so I can finish early.”
Academics played an integral role in Young’s decision. The senior boasts a 3.0 grade point average and plans to major in sports medicine.
This past season, he was a key player on defense, registering 110 tackles, five sacks and three pass break-ups.
On offense, he rushed for more than 600 yards and scored 10 touchdowns.
“He’s probably one of the best I’ve coached,” Albany High coach Felton Williams said. “He was one of those kids who believed in our program and bought into it during the spring of his eighth-grade year. He is one of those players who exemplifies what the outcome can be if you buy in.”
The senior is part of a stellar recruiting class that coach Al Golden is putting together. The Hurricanes currently have 29 commitments and are ranked third nationally by ESPN.
Young will be eligible to compete in Miami’s spring football practice. He hopes that by enrolling early, he can get a jump on Miami’s other recruits who won’t arrive until late July.
“I can manage,” he said. “Hopefully, I can go in and try to outwork everybody so that I can become a veteran.”
Excelling on the football field is important. However, he wants to be a better student.
“I would not have wanted to go to a school that had a great football program with no academics,” he said. “I chose Miami because of the academics. Without that piece of paper (degree), you don’t have anything. I’d rather have that degree after football.”
Williams smiled as he talked about Young’s career with the Indians.
“Like I tell all of these guys, if you do what you are supposed to do, they (colleges) will find you,” he said.