I vividly remember being in Atlanta in the summer of 1988,near UNDERGROUND and buying bootleg copies of RUN-DMC’s “Tougher Than Leather along with NWA’s “Straight Outta Compton”.Yes they were both on cassettes. A white kid in Underground Atlanta buying Bootleg cassettes,go figure… This morning before I went to work,I listened to TOUGHER THAN LEATHER.A white guy listening to late 80’s Rap at 4:45 AM,go figure…While this isn’t their best work by far..its message comes across loud and clear.
“Bumrush and crush, leave ’em in the dust”
I find the above lyric describes Spartanburg Running Back/ Wide receiver Ladarius Jones.He attacks the point of impact,powers his way through holes and in the open field he is gone.Ladarius was born and raised here in Spartanburg by his very supporting and loving family.I see them at the games..they never miss a game or chance to cheer him on.
“Outside of football I love helping kids, its such a warm feeling knowing that you did something that helped change someone who is younger life.” Jones went on to say,”My middle school coach, Coach Gist once told me that Preparation + Opportunity will equal Success. That has stuck with me and has made me work harder to out play my opponent”.
The 185 pound, 5’10 workhorse has no problem with hard work.It has become a part of who he is.”The Northwestern game I knew was going to be one of the biggest challenges of my football career. I had to not only be physically ready.. I needed to prepare mentally. Overall I think I played a pretty good game, But there’s always that thought about could I have done something more to help my team”,Jones said.
Assistant Offensive coordinater Nate Harris said of Jones,”The most determined, and the biggest shoe to fill! Has the biggest competitors edge I have ever seen!!
“Drizzle” ,as he is known in the hallways and locker room had 13 Carries for 69 and 6 catches for 120 Yards.”I still wonder could I have done a little extra, But we have to take this loss and get back to work, because we have another challenge from an undefeated Westside and It is going to be another dog fight.” MaxPreps has WESTSIDE ranked #1 in South Carolina.
“Yeah, they have a couple of Division -1 prospects on their team just like Northwestern did but I don’t think all those offers and stars mean a thing if you don’t possess the heart and the mindset”, Ladarius said. “Football is more than a one player game, football is a team sport, all 11 people have to be together.”
There are a lot of people who may tell Jones what he can do to become better but it was one person in particular who drove him to be better and that was Spartanburg Head Coach Chris Miller.”In Preseason scrimmages he told me he saw something in me but I just couldn’t see it in my self, I was making mental mistakes,” Ladarius also said,” he told me “I need a back who is going to get me those tough yards “. The conversation with Coach Miller drove Ladarius and pushed him to become stronger and not just physically, but mentally as well.
“I got tougher and I have been getting him those tough yards as he needed.”
TOUGHER THAN LEATHER…
Ladarius continued,”There’s a lot of things people don’t know about me, but one thing is competition drives me, if I see someone do something I want to do it better!!, if I don’t get it the first try, I’m going to keep trying it until there’s no doubt that I did it better. I don’t like things to be handed to me, I would much rather earn it by being Tough.”
So this Friday Night.. I,the guy who bought bootleg cassettes and blasted RUN-DMC at 5AM..Gets to witness It.I get to feel the swell of emotion when Ladarius catches a swing pass or powers through 3 tackles. I Get to watch “Drizzle” play football. I get to see TOUGH.
Westside gets to try to stop it.
I’m glad I’m Me.