North Forest duo the talk of inner-city football
When people think about high school recruiting hotbeds in Houston, the names Katy, Lamar, North Shore and Manvel come to mind.
But North Forest?
Two national recruits are emerging from the inner city school, bringing the likes of Alabama’s Nick Saban, Texas’ Tom Herman and TCU’s Gary Patterson through the school’s field house.
Junior offensive lineman Javonne Shepherd and sophomore receiver Demond Demas are putting the school right in the epicenter of the football recruiting map.
“I can’t go anywhere around the neighborhood or on campus and not be asked about them,” coach Clifton Terrell said. “I’ve been around the district for 28 years, and there haven’t been any more high-profile guys than these two.
“They are really grounded kids and we keep them grounded,” he said. “They motivate the other kids here. They see that if Javonne and Demond can do it, so can they. It just takes hard work and effort. We want it to continue to be a revolving door of coaches after they leave.”
At 6-foot-4, Demas is the go-to guy for North Forest. He is a dominant receiver, a punt and kick-returner and can play safety on defense.
He was the Offensive MVP of the District as a sophomore and a first- teamer on defense.
“He’s so explosive and there isn’t a ball that he doesn’t think he can’t catch,” Terrell said. “He does everything for us and he never wants to leave the field.”
The Big Man on Campus also helped lead the basketball team to the second-round of the playoffs and is now making noise on the track.
‘My first love is football,” Demas said. “I can’t put my finger on what I like the most.”
One of the things that make Demas a great player is his work ethic. He got it from admiring the hard work his father and grandfather put into creating their own successful businesses.
In pursuit of his NFL goal, Demas works relentlessly on his craft setting a good example for his younger brothers. His mom is also a motivating factor as he tries to make sure he can one day provide for her.
What else makes Demas a great player is his faith. Demas understands his God-given talent will have a lot to do with him reaching his goals.
Because of that faith, Demas doesn’t hesitate to give up the opportunity to go to football showcases on Sunday, so that he can be in church. That was the case when “The Opening” sponsored by Nike came to Houston. Demas was invited but chose to skip the event so that he could be in church.
Javonne Shepherd is so new to the sport of football. The right tackle started playing football in the ninth grade and has upside a big as his 6-foot-6 frame.
“Shepherd is really strong and has worked so much on this craft,” Terrell said. “He has a great football IQ, but at the same time wants to pancake you on every play. He has a great motor.”
His motor was on display at The Opening when he ran a 4.7 in the 40-yard dash at 320-pounds. He walked away with the Offensive Lineman MVP.
“I’ve known about ‘The Opening’ before I even started playing football,” Shepherd said. “I didn’t think I would get ever get MVP, especially on my first time. It’s a big deal for me.”
When his football journey began, he admits that he got whooped the first day of practice. Since then, Shepherd has become a leader that his teammates respect and look up to.
“These are great young men,” Terrell said. “We are real with them and take the recruiting process very serious. We want them to get out of here and make us proud. We guide them with tough love, but they are more than our players, they are family. We will provide them with everything we can, they know I’ll answer every time they call and I will treat them like they are my own sons.”
That’s how it’s supposed to be.
This article appears in the March Issue of VYPE Magazine. Pick up your copy at any one of our locations today!