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North Forest duo the talk of inner-city football

Demas, a sophomore, was the go-to guy for North Forest. Vype

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!

 

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Watson's accusers appeared on Real Sports on Tuesday night. Photo by Nick Cammett/Getty Images.

HBO Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel’s heavily promoted and much anticipated examination of Deshaun Watson’s legal mess involving alleged sexual misconduct shed little new light and merely presented a summary of well worn he said/she (x22) said accusations and denials.

The episode debuted Tuesday night on the premium cable service and will be repeated dozens of times throughout the week on HBO’s platforms. Check your local listings for times and channel.

The segment was hosted by Soledad O’Brien who presented compelling face-to-face interviews with two of the quarterback’s accusers: massage therapists Ashley Solis and Kyla Hayes. Their stories were detailed and graphic. Both cried during the interviews.

Solis: “As I’m working, he deliberately grabs himself and put his penis on my hand. I pulled my hand away instantly and I started crying. I told that I’m done. I don’t want to do this anymore.”

Solis said she felt threatened when Watson, before leaving the session, allegedly told her: “I know you have a career to protect, and I know that you don’t want anyone messing with it, just like I don’t want anyone messing with mine.”

Solis added, “That’s when I got really scared because that sounded like a threat to me.”

Hayes: “He wanted me to kind of make a V motion in his pelvic area. I just kept massaging and did what he asked, until his penis kept touching me repeatedly as I did it.”

Hayes said that Watson had an orgasm, which she said was “mortifying, embarrassing and disgusting.”

O’Brien asked Hayes why she continued to have contact via email with Watson after their encounter.

Hayes: "I wasn't sure what he was capable of. He could've physically assaulted me. He could've bashed my business, so I had to protect myself and my business the best way I saw fit. Did I ever see him again after that? No. Did I give him the runaround? Yes."

O’Brien pointed out that two separate grand juries in Texas heard criminal accusations against Watson and neither found enough evidence to indict him.

Solis and Hayes, and 20 other massage therapists have filed civil suits against Watson. The cases aren’t expected to reach a courtroom until next March. Both sides could reach a settlement before then which would effectively shut down any legal action against Watson. However, both sides say they aren’t interested in any pretrial settlements. That’s what they say now, anyway.

After being banished to the sidelines for the 2021 season by the Houston Texans, Watson signed a historic, 5-year fully guaranteed $230 million contract with the Cleveland Browns.

Hayes said she feels Watson “is being rewarded for bad behavior." Solis said, "It's just like a big screw you. That's what it feels like. That we (the Browns) don't care. He can run and throw, and that's what we care about.”

Watson currently is participating in preseason workouts with the Browns and, at the moment, is cleared to play the upcoming NFL season.

That is unless the NFL suspends Watson for some, most or all of the 2022 season. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has said the league is nearing completion of its independent investigation into Watson’s case and will reach a decision “shortly,” probably this summer. The NFL and NFL Players Association mutually agreed to have former U.S. District Judge Sue Robinson decide whether or not Watson violated the league’s Personal Conduct Policy and what discipline should be handed down if he did.

The Browns are scheduled to play the Texans on Dec. 4 at NRG Stadium in Houston.

O’Brien said, while producing the Real Sports piece, she tried to interview Watson, his attorneys and the Cleveland Browns for their side of the story. All declined.

During a press conference in March to announce his joining the Browns, Watson denied any inappropriate behavior with the massage therapists.

Watson: “I never assaulted any woman. I’ve never disrespected any woman. I was raised to be genuine and respect everyone around me. I’ve never done the thing that these people are alleging. My mom and my aunties didn’t raise me that way.”

Leah Graham, a member of Watson’s legal team, sat for an interview after O’Brien’s segment was complete.

Graham: "It's 22 women. It's one lawyer. There's only one lawyer who was willing to take these cases. And as we know from Ashley Solis’ deposition, Mr. (Houston attorney Tony) Buzbee was not the first, probably not the second or third lawyer she went to, but he was the only one to take her case. Why? Not because it had merit, but because he would use these cases to increase his social media following and quite frankly to get on shows like this one.”

My reaction after watching the Real Sports segment? We weren’t in the room when the massage therapists worked on Watson. We weren’t in the grand jury room when evidence against Watson was presented. We don’t know what happened. We don’t know what will happen if these cases go to trial.

Until then all we have is one big, lurid, embarrassing mess. In American courtrooms, defendants are presumed innocent. That’s often the opposite in the court of public opinion. We’ll just have to wait while the wheels of justice grind painfully slow.

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