(This is the 10th in a series of preseason stories on new high school football coaches, or veteran coaches at a different school, and top players in the Chattanooga area)
Jaylen Wynn is hoping that he has saved his best for last as
far as his prep football career at Lookout Valley is concerned.
The 5-10, 180-pound senior is a four-year starter for the
Yellow Jackets where he was their leading rusher on offense and the team’s
leading tackler from his safety spot on defense.
Last year wasn’t much fun for anyone wearing the black and
gold as the Yellow Jackets lost their first nine games before ending the year
with a victory over Sale Creek.
Lookout Valley is a small school to begin with and the
football roster is never very extensive, but an abundance of season-ending
injuries took its toll on the team last year and veteran head coach Tony Webb
was wondering at times if he’d even have enough healthy bodies to finish the
Wynn was one of those young men who played all year, never
complaining about the pounding he was taking and the bumps and bruises he
received as the player who probably got hit more than anybody on the field.
“Jaylen is a hard worker and just a really tough kid,” Webb
praised earlier this week before an early-afternoon session in the weight room.
“He gained about 700 yards for us last year and caught
eight or nine passes for another 50 or 60 yards, so he’s really dependable and
is our go-to guy on offense. He was also
our leading tackler on defense.
"Jaylen is a four-year starter, but he really started to
become a big part of our offense when he was a sophomore. I just like his work ethic as he’s fun to be
around. He’s really a quiet young man
and he’s not a rah-rah kind of guy, but he plays a major role in every phase of
the game and he normally doesn’t come off the field on Friday night.
“He’s on our punt return team, but he’s not our return guy
as that’s just one less hit he has to take. He will be one of our kickoff returners, but I really like his toughness
and he just runs through tackles. He has
an older brother who was just like that a few years ago,” Webb praised
22-year-old Tay Vaughn, who was an All-State performer for the Yellow Jackets a
few years ago.
“I think we’ll be better this year, but we were just so beat
up last year. I don’t know how we made
it through the season, but I have high expectations for Jaylen this year. He’s had two outstanding scrimmages so far
and he comes from a really good family. Both of his parents are really involved and so are his brothers,” the
veteran coach praised.
So what does the young man think who will turn 18 on the
last day of November?
“I’ve been playing football since
I was seven, but I just try to do the best I can on the field. I remember I used to follow my older brother
when he played football here and it just got in my blood,” said the senior who hopes
to attend the Air Force Academy next year.
“I love to run the football and
I’ll never forget how good it felt to score my first career touchdown against
Whitwell when I was a freshman. I’ve
worked hard and I try to have the mindset of being the best player on the
field, but my goal is to get more yards and be a good leader for everyone else
on the team.”
So what are his career plans?
“Math is my favorite subject, so
I’d either like to be a math professor in college or be a dentist,” he said
matter of factly.
“Playing football at Lookout Valley
has been a great experience for me,” the middle son of Ernest and Shawn Wynn
The Yellow Jackets will take part
in the Sequatchie Valley Jamboree at Whitwell on Friday night before the season
opener a week later at home against Silverdale.
Jaylen Wynn is just hoping things
go better for his team this year than they did in 2013. After all, this is the final time around and
he just hopes to go out with a bang.
Friday: Cleveland’s T.J. Parker and Zack Lee
(E-mail John Hunt at