The Student News Site of Ocean Lakes High School

The Current

The Student News Site of Ocean Lakes High School

The Current

The Student News Site of Ocean Lakes High School

The Current

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Gatlin lets his play do the talking

Raymond Gatlin Jr. stands with his teammates at Princess Anne High School on Oct. 6, 2023, hours prior to defeating the Cavaliers with a score of 30-7, with Raymond scoring two of the touchdowns. Photo used with permission from Jay Delro.

After suffering a season-ending ankle injury his junior year, Raymond Gatlin Jr. (Rj) plans to make his senior year an unforgettable one. 

“My injury helped me grow more as a person. To see how I was without football broke me. So, I came into the offseason with nothing but pain to get back for my senior season and to make it a year to remember,” said Rj. 

Leading the 757 with 103 tackles and 18 TFL (tackles for loss), Rj has pushed himself throughout the season and offseason, devoting 26 hours a week of practice inside as well as outside of school. 

“The best thing about Rj is the leadership he gives. Everybody looks up to him, whatever Rj says everybody does. That’s the most valuable part of Rj,” said defensive coordinator Jeff Bronco. 

Rj leads the team as one of the four captains for the second year in a row; he encourages the younger players and supports them, not only as their captain but as their role model. 

“At practice, after I finish a rep, he always tells me if I do something good and what I could do better next time,” said freshman Mark Gaines. “I just met him and he’s an amazing guy and player. He’s a brother to me.”

Rj has spent 12 consecutive years devoting himself to football. Encouragement from his family, teammates and coaches have pushed him to become the best player he can be. 

One person in particular has shaped Rj into the person he is today: his father. Rj’s father not only coached for a multitude of high schools but also coached Rj. Since Rj was a child, he would go to games and practices, watching all the athletes. He looked up to them and wanted to become them. 

“Football has changed me into a better person in all aspects. The way I get through life, the way I think, how I get through things and the way I go about things,” said Rj. 

Many colleges have shown interest in Rj for his football skills including Duke University, Bryant University, Hampton University, Bridgewater College, University of Richmond and many more.

¨I definitely believe Rj has the potential to go to the college level; if he continues to do what he does, he’ll move on to do great things,” said Bronco. 

With this being his senior year, he is determined to perform to the best of his ability and spend his time with the people he enjoys playing with the most. 

“This senior season has been amazing. Spending it with my brothers and the ones I started with, I wouldn’t want to end my last year of high school football without them,” said Rj. “It made me think of how fast time goes by. It felt like yesterday I was a sophomore starting on varsity for the first time.”

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About the Contributor
Jade McAboy
Jade McAboy, Boys Sports Editor
Jade McAboy is a junior and a second-year journalism student. This year is her first year as the boys sports editor. Jade is also an athletic trainer for Ocean Lakes Athletic Training Team. In her free time, she enjoys beach trips, reading and hanging out with friends.

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