Hickory's Staton chooses to play football for Bears

From staff reports
Staff Writer

Jaekwon Staton says that more than anything, he wants to make his grandpa proud.
“None of this would have happened without the encouragement of my grandpa, Keith Staton,” said Jaekwon, who recently signed a full ride to play football at Lenoir-Rhyne University.
“But I also realize that I must give all thanks to the Lord as He is everything. I feel truly blessed that I have achieved the goal of earning the opportunity to attend college and play football,” said Staton.
The leading wide receiver in the history of Hickory High, Staton has been playing football since he was four years old.
"I really just tossed the ball around but by the age of five, I was playing flag football at Highland Rec Center,” said Staton.
Staton continued to play football all through middle school and high school, with Red Tornadoes head coach Russell Stone providing inspiration and direction during his senior year.
“Coach Stone knows the game inside and out. He pushes me; he knows my potential and he would definitely get on me if I lost my focus,” Staton said.
According to Coach Stone, Staton was instrumental in making sure that Stone, as the new head coach at HHS, was accepted by Staton’s teammates.
“Jaekwon has a great work ethic and leads by example at practice and games with passion and intensity. I am proud of his maturity and that he always has a kind word for the elementary age kids,” the Hickory coach said. “I am thankful I had one season to coach and enjoy his talent, and that at LRU, we can pull for a hometown hero.”
Staton recently met the Head Football Coach at LRU, Dave Chronic—in addition to other LR coaches, Foster and Cole.
“I am very excited about working with these great coaches on the next level,” said Staton, who shared he is already working out in preparation for the fall season, using weights and running.
Staton plans to major in psychology at LRU with an interest in human services and Christian counseling for child services.  The son of Nina Staton, Jaekwon has been raised by his grandfather since the age of two. Jaekwon acknowledged that life journeys are not always easy: “I have watched some challenges in my life, but I am driven and determined to have a good career, God willing, and I plan to provide for a family one day, giving them the best life possible.”
Born and raised in Hickory, Staton grew up attending Hickory Public Schools.
“I will miss my friends, especially my best classmate, Derrien Phillips, who will also be leaving to play college football. We have been close friends since the eighth grade when we played on competing teams, and we will stay in touch,” Staton said.
Though Lenoir-Rhyne University is a hometown institution of higher learning, Staton doesn’t mind the proximity to home.  He loves the campus, especially the athletic facilities, and he will reside in the dorm. “I look forward to meeting my new teammates and getting involved with the university. Coach Stone taught me to keep a clear mind, to focus, not to over-think a situation but to make strong decisions, to breathe and to turn up my performance,” said Staton. “That is my game plan at LRU—as I take the team approach to my new journey, making this college experience a bright direction for my future!”