The John Curtis Patriots Send Three Defensive Backs To The Collegiate Level
by Trent Schachter
Last season at John Curtis High School, every football team that faced the Patriots was locked down in the secondary by Caleb Spann, Kerry McMillian, and Jackson Wallace.
It’s not every day three players on one football team earn Division 1 scholarships, let alone three defensive backs. While working together to shut down the aerial attack, each of them showcased their abilities and earned the opportunity to play football at the next level. Caleb Spann has committed to play for Central Michigan. Kerry McMillian has committed to play for Lamar, and Jackson Wallace has committed to play at Columbia.
After getting the chance to speak with each of them, a common theme became obvious, which was their gratitude for their teammates.
McMillian expressed, “With us three and our secondary as a whole, we were great at communication” humbly noting that his success was not because of just one person, but the team’s great chemistry at large.
Wallace, a transfer from Holy Cross, noticed the team’s chemistry as well, stating that “as soon as I got to Curtis, we started to build great chemistry and we tried to make the best of it”.
Spann explained that trust is an important part of chemistry noting, “Kerry and I have been playing together since 7th grade and I can trust him.”
This rapport easily built a foundation for their successes. After speaking with them, each player emphasized the importance of team camaraderie in their overall success on the field. From the outside looking in, it is easy to see that when all these guys lay it all out on the field, they bring out the best in one another.
Spann is excited to play at Central Michigan and told me he’s ready to “go out there and compete in the MAC (Mid-American Conference)”, while also noting he’s grateful to be “getting the opportunity to prove himself” on a larger stage.
Spann expressed that playing football at John Curtis High School “was a great learning experience; one of the greatest coaches in Louisiana has taught me a lot as a football player and as a man. He’s helped improve my football IQ tremendously”.
After spending the last four seasons under Head Coach J.T. Curtis, Spann will certainly be prepared for football up north.
McMillian is also looking forward to playing football at the next level. Once he arrives at Lamar, McMillian will be ready to get to work, noting that he’s “looking forward to being an instant impact.” He also went on to note, “I’m excited to take what I learned from playing under Coach Curtis and help turn the program around.” McMillian, when asked about what he can bring to the table at Lamar, went on to say “I pride myself on my football IQ. I’m not going to be the fastest or the strongest player on the field, but I can be the smartest”. McMillian will take that same mentality with him to the next level.
Since transferring from Holy Cross, Wallace immediately embraced the Patriot way. When asked about how JCHS has prepared him for the next level, he stated that “our workouts are pretty hard. I got stronger and faster. The way our workouts are set up really prepared me for college.” Due to his commitment to improve, Wallace earned a scholarship to Columbia and eventually chose to go there because he “really liked the coaching staff. They really showed [him] the way”. Wallace had some other Ivy League schools interested in his talents, but in the end, the trust and rapport he had with the coaching staff made Columbia the clear choice for the defensive back.
Wallace, McMillian and Spann each had high praise for their Head Coach J.T. Curtis. When asked about their time spent at JCHS, each player had something special to say about the coach and the great influence he’s had on them and their teammates. The positive impact Coach Curtis has on his players can be summed up best by McMillian, who said “he knows how to prepare guys for the next level. He demands perfection. He taught us hard-nose, figure-it-out, tough football”. Coach Curtis will have a great impact on these players for the rest of their careers, and will carry his lessons and mentality with them at the next level.
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Trent Schachter is from San Luis Obispo, California and currently a senior at Louisiana State University. He is majoring in Sports Administration and minoring in Business. In high school, he was a 4-time All-American and the only swimmer in his school’s history to qualify for the State Championship in every event. Trent was recruited by the Tigers to become a Division I student-athlete and spent the last four years competing against the best in the SEC. Growing up in California, he became a huge Oakland Raiders fan from birth. Trent enjoys talking football, playing pickup basketball and welcomes all challenges from anyone who thinks they can outdo him in football trivia.