Less of Javonte Turrentine means more to his football team.
The senior shed 35 pounds, and the slimmed-down 300-pound defensive tackle takes pride in getting into the kind of shape that allows him to torch opposing offenses.
“I’m a lot stronger than I was when I first started, a lot faster,” he said. “I dropped 35 pounds, so that’s a plus.”
Turrentine’s athleticism was on full display when the Lions played Waccamaw last fall.
During one play, the Waccamaw quarterback tried to scramble, but he couldn’t escape Turrentine.
The lineman stripped the ball from the quarterback’s arms, grabbed it and ran into the end zone for a touchdown — his first score.
“It was a crazy moment,” he said.
Because of his bulk, Turrentine said opponents often don’t know how agile the big tackle can be.
“People don’t realize that I’m fast for my size,” he said. “I’m able to move. They don’t expect that.”
Turrentine will anchor a Lions defense that the senior believes can stuff opposing offenses this fall.
“Our main thing’s going to be our defense,” he said. “We’ve got a really strong defense coming back this year.”
Being part of that group is what Turrentine loves about the game.
“I love the fact that it’s a team game,” he said. “Everybody on the team has to work together to accomplish one goal.”
Along with his dynamic playmaking ability, Turrentine’s leadership skills have also emerged as he’s matured, Lions coach Jamie Snider said.
“He’s vocal when he needs to be,” the coach said. “He has been a very positive influence on some of those younger guys on defense.”