Like most of his high school football peers, Josey Janow would like to continue playing football when he graduates.
Unlike most of his peers, though, Janow is seeking an appointment rather than a scholarship. He has designs on West Point or Annapolis through the auspices of Bob Corker and Lamar Alexander, Tennessee's U.S. senators.
"I've pretty much made up my mind that the military is in my future, whether it's ROTC or one of the academies," said Janow, who at Red Bank is not just a football player but also its student body president and colonel of cadets for the ROTC program.
As he enters his fourth year of Lions football, the senior named after the Clint Eastwood character in the movie "The Outlaw Josey Wales" has played most every position.
"Quarterback, linebacker, secondary, defensive end, tight end, running back, receiver and long snapper," Lions coach E.K. Slaughter said. "There are a lot of people who haven't worked as hard as he has and yet have gotten the praise. It doesn't affect him."
It is Janow's willingness to sacrifice more than his versatility that has impressed his coach, who is big on doing the right things the right way. One of the philosophies Slaughter recently shared with his team seems to the coach to perfectly fit the 5-foot-10, 182-pound linebacker.
"What we discussed says, 'I will try to do the right thing in the right way when no one sees or praises me, but when I have done my best I will not envy those that have done better or received a larger reward.' That is a lot of who Josey is," Slaughter said. "He doesn't do what he does for the praise. He does everything to the best of his ability. He expects that of himself.
"He's always going to be the hardest worker you've got and he's going to play hard, so he leads also by example."
His primary expectations revolve around academics, and his course load this year includes advanced-placement classes in European history, chemistry and literature. He would have taken AP calculus but would have had to go to Hixson for that, so he settled for honors calculus. His other honors classes have included English, algebra II and geometry.
"I feel good about staying on track," he said after confirming a 3.75 grade point average.
Janow attended American Legion boys' state and was then selected to go to boys' nation, where he had the opportunity to meet Alexander and Corker and then President Barack Obama.
"It was a surprise to meet [the president]," Janow said. "We were at the White House, which not a lot of people get the opportunity to do now. I got to shake his hand. Those will be great memories."
Teenagers like Janow naturally stand out, Red Bank principal Justin Robertson said.
"He is one of the most well-rounded students I have met," Robertson said. "During our [teacher] in-service he and another senior, Autumn Babb, led a session for our faculty on bullying. It was one of the most powerful in-service sessions I have ever attended. I was so impressed with their poise and confidence. It was incredible. Josey is a future leader. He has received a lot of well-deserved recognition, yet through it all he has remained so humble."
Slaughter said Janow sets high goals and when he attains those he sets higher objectives.
"He doesn't want to be average, and he makes a conscious effort every day to be great," the coach said. "It isn't just in football. As a person, he wants to do great things. The hardest thing we as educators have to do is to get high school students to look past today. Josey is able to do that, and he really makes the effort to make sure he's doing everything he's supposed to in order to have the life he wants to have."
Contact Ward Gossett at email@example.com or 423-886-4765.
Ward Gossett is an assistant sports editor and writer for the Times Free Press. Ward has a long history in Chattanooga journalism. He actually wrote a bylined story for the Chattanooga News-Free Press as a third-grader. He Began working part-time there in 1968 and was hired full time in 1970. Ward now covers high school athletics, primarily football, wrestling and baseball and University of Tennessee at Chattanooga wrestling. Over a 40-year career, he has covered ...