Paul M. Banks reports on National Championship Media Day
Alabama Cornerback Javier Arenas will take the field Thursday gunning to be (whoops, sorry about using the name “Arenas” and “gunning” in the same sentence right now), Arenas is shooting for the moon (whoops, my bad again, mentioning “Arenas” and “shooting”) in the National title game. The cousin of Washington Wizards All-Star Point Guard Gilbert Arenas, has a drive and work ethic that few can match. And most importantly, he doesn’t have the crazy streak possessed by his relative who’s making all the headlines right now.
At National title game media day, Javier talked about the lack of offers he got coming out of high school, and how maybe that kind of fueled his fire at Alabama to show people what they missed out on.
“Out of high school, I had probably like three solid offers, Florida International, Florida Atlantic, and I guess here the last week of the signing process. I never really thought about it giving me motivation, because regardless, I was going to go out there and give it my all, whenever I was working on the football field. But it was a stressful process for me because I felt as though I deserved to be somewhere decent, not that those schools aren’t decent, but I felt that I deserved a little better. And when I got the opportunity to come up here, I think that’s why I worked so hard because I seen that little window of opportunity, and I threw myself in it. I exert myself every day when I go out. I guess you could say that’s my motivation, the opportunity.
I don’t think about who didn’t recruit me because that’s negative thinking. That’s playing mad. I don’t think about that. I think about the opportunity and the advantage I’ve taken so far and how long I’m going to continue to take advantage of it. It’s proof that I can do it when there’s a shot given, and just take full advantage of it, once again,” the 5’9” 200 pound senior corner/return specialist said.
In addition to be a shutdown corner, the AP All-American and All-SEC first team member is dangerous in the return game, as Javier broke Derek Abney’s Southeastern Conference record for career punt return touchdowns with his 7th against the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga in Bryant-Denny Stadium earlier this year. Currently, Arenas projects as anywhere from a late 1st round to mid 3rd round NFL draft choice.
Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart discussed what makes Arenas so special. As you might expect, Arenas’ drive and determination was a large part of what came to mind.
“Javier is one of the best I’ve ever seen as far as going out in practice, competing. He is the most competitive individual, and this is kind of the same question we got last year when they were asking about Javier, but he’s taken it to another level this year. He’s more of a leader. He goes out to practice and every day he competes like it’s his last day. You think back to the game that he ended up not being able to play, I think it was South Carolina, he’s in practice and he tries to run over DJ Fluker in practice, who is the largest human being on our team. Javier thinks he’s bigger than he is, which makes him the greatest player that he can be. He tries to run over guys, he tries to hit guys. He’s one of the most physical and competitive people.
That’s why it’s easy for him to play on Saturdays, because he plays on Saturdays just like he did yesterday at practice. Yesterday was his National Championship game. He isn’t letting anybody catch a ball on him, and he’s one of the most competitive, fun people to be around. That’s a credit to his character and his work,” Smart stated.
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