Kenedy Musante

Zion Jackson (left), O'Shae Baker (middle), and Jordan Davis (right) have used their football careers at SHS as a launchpad to college.

Kenedy Musante and Leyton Dudley

For many high school athletes entering junior year, being recruited and committing to a college is a dream come true. The new school year has brought along a new football season, and with it, a new year of competition for athletes who strive to make it to the top. Juniors Zion Jackson, Jordan Davis and O’Shae Baker are among the talented football players at Seminole High School who have been able to live out this dream.

Growing up, Zion Jackson lived in a rough neighborhood and often found himself throwing the football around with his friends. One day, Jackson met Kelly Poleman, a Central Florida football coach who immediately recognized Jackson’s talent and started training him. Since then, Jackson has put in hours of work on the field, training to be better. Now a wide receiver and star player, Jackson has recently committed to The University of Central Florida.  

“I’ve always had a passion for football, but people were always telling me I couldn’t hit or make plays, which inspired me to develop a mindset to prove those people wrong,” Jackson said.

There are many things that motivate one to continue their sports career. For some, playing football goes beyond the field and has a deeper meaning in their lives. For Jackson, football brings him closer with family.

“The people I play with now I’ve played with all my life, so for me, it’s more of a family thing. My dad also loved football too, so every game I play, I play for him,” Jackson said.

In contrast, Jordan Davis did not feel passionate about the sport during his childhood, but inspiration from his brother drove him to become committed to the sport.

Once I saw my brother doing the things he’s accomplished in his career, it made me want to play, so I got back into [the sport],” Davis said.

Davis has received offers to pursue his football career at the University of South Dakota, Mercer University, University of Central Florida, University of South Florida and the University of Pittsburgh. Davis plans on furthering his football career to play in the NFL, but he is also considering enrolling in the military.

Like Davis, O’Shae Baker was inspired by his brother, a player on the All-American state championship football team. This encouraged him to start playing at five years old. O’Shae Baker, wide receiver for the SHS team, has received an offer from the University of Tennessee at Martin. He plans on pursuing his football career throughout college, perhaps even professionally. Football has brought him many opportunities, but it has required a great deal of hard work.         

“Without football, I would probably be in the streets right now, so don’t take it for granted, work hard every time you get the chance to,” Baker said.

Working hard in school is key to any athlete’s successful career. Between three or four hour practices and long homework sessions after to maintain their minimum 2.0 GPA, star athletes never seem to get a break from school. Playing football is a difficult sport that can test your limits. However, at the end of the day, these three players have proven that hard work and dedication can fulfill dreams and lead people to success.