Scholar athlete: Jadarius Ealey

Published 12:05 am Thursday, November 3, 2011

Cathedral High School running back J.D. Ealey practices drills during practice Wednesday afternoon at Cathedral. (Eric Shelton \ The Natchez Democrat)

NATCHEZ — Cathedral senior J.D. Ealey enjoys learning about the past and how to use past events to make the future better.

So far, Ealey has made his mark on the history of Green Wave football, and he hopes the future is full of great accomplishments yet to be achieved, he said.

Ealey surpassed the 1,000-yard mark last week in the Green Wave’s 55-34 win over Hinds Agricultural High School and if Cathedral is able to defeat University Christian Friday, Ealey would have been a key contributor on back-to-back region-championship teams.

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But all of those accomplishments come second to Ealey’s main focus, which is being a successful student at Cathedral, he said.

“Academics always is first for me,” he said.

Ealey, who maintains a 3.0 GPA, said it takes hard work to stay on top of all of his responsibilities, but he manages his time well.

“I try to get my homework done before football practice begins and after practice I go home and study my notes,” he said.

Ealey said discipline in the classroom could easily be translated into discipline on the playing field.

“(Discipline) helps a lot,” he said. “Because our teacher will give an assignment, and I have to complete that assignment. It’s just like carrying out an assignment on the football field.

“Teachers will give us work sheets, and that’s like practice. And Fridays are like tests.”

Ealey said two of his favorite subjects are history and human anatomy, but he is unsure of what he would like to focus on in college.

“I love history, so I might go into something like that,” he said. “I love learning about our past as people and how our government is set up and how we can make it better.

“And (I like) the human body and anatomy. I might want to be an orthodontist.”

Ealey said he prides himself on being a leader to his teammates as well as each Cathedral student that looks up to him, he said.

“I try to be a senior leader for the younger players,” he said. “We have eighth-graders (with the varsity) now, and I try to give them something to look up to. I try to be an example.

“And at school we have kids down to elementary school, and they look up to us, so I try to be a role model to the little kids in school.”

Ealey said reaching the 1,000-yard mark on the season was special to him, but it certainly was not his top priority.

“That’s the marker we’ve been looking forward to,” he said. “I tried not to think about it, but once I got close to it, (the team) wanted to do whatever it takes to get to that point.

“(My goal) is to do whatever it takes to get (the) district (championship).”

Ealey said he would gladly sacrifice all of his carries for the Green Wave to capture its second-consecutive district title Friday.

Cathedral coach Ron Rushing said Ealey is not only a good football player, but he is also a good young man to be around.

“He’s just a great kid,” Rushing said. “He is well-rounded and well-respected at school.”

Ealey, who also runs track in the spring, said he is unsure of where he will go to college and right now he is just focused on accomplishing his goals for his senior year.

“I want to try to keep my grades up and graduate with honors and work hard,” he said. “On the football field, I want to work hard too and make it last as long as possible.”